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■CONDITION fp® 


TINNEVELLY SHANARS 
A SKETCH 


LIBRARIAN 

Bishop Stephen Neill Study 
Of ancJ Research Centre 
C( v [ c ^-TirooeIveIi Diocese) 

" , ohn , s c oi)ege Hostel Campos 


| THEIR RELIGION, AND 

AND CHARACTERISTICS, AS A 


WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO 
THE FACILITIES AND HINDRANCES TO THE PROGRESS 
OF CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THEM. 



By 






THE REV. R. Caldwell, B.A. 

^ Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 

Parts, at Edeyengoody, Tinnevelly. 


MADRAS 

\ PRINTED BY REUBEN TWIGG, AT THE CHRISTIAN 

\ SOCIETY'S PRESS, CHURCH STREET, VEPERY, 

ft,. ' •• < 






















1 




THE 

TINNEVELLY SHANARS 
A SKETCH 

Of 

THEIR RELIGION, AND THEIR MORAL CONDITION 
AND CHARACTERISTICS, AS A CASTE: 


WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO 
THE FACILITIES AND HINDRANCES TO THE PROGRESS 
OF CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THEM. 

By 

THE REV. R. Caldwell, B.A. 

Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign 
Parts, at Edeyengoody, Tinnevelly. 


MADRAS 

PRINTED BY REUBEN TWIGG, AT THE CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE 
SOCIETY'S PRESS, CHURCH STREET, VEPERY, 


1849 






2 


THE TINNEVELLY SHANARS 


From time to time varic Is published Reports have 
communicated a considerable amount of information respecting the 
history and the internal economy, the progress and prospects of the 
Missions in Tinnevelly. But notwithstanding those Reports, persons 
residing in England cannot have a very distinct idea either of the 
nature of missionary work in this province, or of the nature of the 
difficulties connected with it, and the proportionate value of the 
results that have been obtained, without more specific information 
respecting the characteristics and condition of the inhabitants in 
their heathen state. I therefore have thought that a sketch of the 
religious and moral condition of the heathen population, with 
special reference to those castes and classes to which the majority 
of our converts originally belonged, and amongst which we 
continue to have most influence ; with observations on their social 
condition and mental characteristics, in so far as they affect their 
moral condition and prospects, may enable some persons to form a 
more distinct idea of the peculiarities of this sphere of missionary 
labour, and tend to excite them to a more practical interest in it. 

In attempting to describe the religious or social 
condition of any class of people, it is a necessary preliminary to 
state who and what they are, and in what position they stand 
relatively to other classes. The castes to which the greater number 
of the members of our native congregations belong,form the bulk 
of the population in the south of Tinnevelly; and probably 
comprise a majority of the entire population of the province. Of 
the Christians the most numerous class is composed of Shanars, 
inclusive of the various sub-divisions and off-shoots of the caste. 
The next consists of Pariars and Pullers, the hereditary slaves of 
the wealthier classes ; and last in the order of number follow the 
Maravers, with a still smaller proportion of Vellalers, Naicks, 
Retties, and other high castes. In classifying the native Christians of 


S 








3 


this neighbourhood according to their numerical order, I very 
nearly exhibit the proportion which the various castes, Mahomedans 
excepted, bear to the total amount of the population in the majority 
of the missionary districts. Consequently,an acquaintance with the 
prevailing characteristics of the classes I have mentioned m their 
heathen state will be found to throw much light on the condition 

of the native Christians. 


As the Shanars are the most numerous class amongst the 
heathens in the south-eastern parts of Tinnevelly, and form by far 
the largest body in connection with the Missions, and as they have 
contributed more than any other class to the formation of those 
peculiarities of character and belief, which pervades the mass of the 
people in these parts and distinguish them from the inhabitants of 
the northern districts of Tinnevelly as well as from those of the 
Northern Carnatic in general, many of the remarks I have to make 
will refer chiefly to the Shanars; and sometimes, to avoid 
circumlocution, I shall include the whole of the lower classes of 
the local population under that predominating name. 

The caste of Shanars occupies a middle position between 
the Vellalers and their Pariar slaves. Their hereditary occupation is 
that of cultivating and climbing the palmyra palm,the juice o 
which they boil into a coarse sugar. This is one of the those 
occupations which are restricted by Hindu usage to members of a 
particular caste ; whilst agriculture and trade are open to all. T e 
majority of Shanars confine themselves to the hard and weary 
labour appointed to their race;but a considerable number have 
become cultivators of the soil, as land owners, or farmers, or are 
engaged in trade. They may in general be described as belonging 
to the highest division of the lower classes, or the lowest of the 
middle classes ; poor, but not paupers; rude and unlettered, but y 
many degrees removed from a savage state. In the absence o 
historical statements and monuments, it is impossible to gam 


4 


satisfactory information respecting the origin and history of the 
caste. Such particulars as I have been able to ascertain were picked 
up amongst the ashes of well-nigh extinct traditions. 

I have met with traditions to the effect that the 
Shanars are emigrants from the northern coasts of Ceylon; where 
the same or a similar caste still exists, bearing a grammatical and 
intelligible form of the same name," Shandrar, "of which " Shanar 
"is etymologically a corruption.lt is also tolerably certain that the 
Ilavers and Teers, (i.e.," Cingalese "and " Islanders,") who cultivate 
the cocoanut palm in Travancore, are descendants of Shandrar 
colonists from Ceylon. There are traces of a common origin 
amongst them all: " Shanar," for instance, being a title of honor 
amongst the Travancore Ilavers. It is stated in the traditions to 
which I have alluded, that the Shanars who inhabit Tinnevelly 
came from the neighbourhood of Jaffna, in Ceylon; that one portion 
of them, the class now called " Nadans, " (lords of the soil) 
entered Tinnevelly by way of Ramnad, bringing with them the 
seed- nuts of the Jaffna palmyra, the best in the east; and 
appropriating, or obtaining from, the ancient Pandya princes, (as 
the most suitable region for the cultivation of the palmyra,) the 
sandy waste lands of Manad in the south-east of Tinnevelly, over 
which to the present day they claim rights of seignorage, and that 
the other portion of the emigrants, esteemed a lower division of 
the caste, came by sea to the south of Travancore, where vast 
numbers of them are still found; and from whence, having but 
little land of their own, they have gradually spread themselves over 
Tinnevelly, on the invitation of the Nadans and other proprietors of 
land; who, without the help of their poorer neighbours, as climbers, 
could derive but little profit from their immense forests of 
palmyra. Some of these emigrations have probably taken place since 
the Christian era. And it is asserted by the Syrian Christians of 
Travancore that one portion of the tribe, the Ilavers, were brought 
over from Ceylon by their ancestors, for the cultivation of the 
cocoanut palm. It must not, however, be supposed that any 




5 


tradition represents the Shanar race as being Cingalese in the 
distinct sense of the term. The traditions of the Buddhistical 
Cingalese seem to connect them nationally, as well as religiously, 
with Behar and consequently with the Brahmanical tribes. The 
Shanars, on the contrary, though probably emigrants from Ceylon, 
are Hindus not of the Brahmanical, but of the Tamil or aboriginal 
race; the inhabitants of the northern coast of Ceylon being 
themselves Tamulians - the descendants, either of early Tamil 
colonists, or of the marauding bands of Cholas who are said 
repeatedly to have made irruptions into Ceylon both before and 
after the Christian era. 

The Shanars of Ceylon, who are considered as 
forming the parent stock, now occupy a more respectable position 
in the social scale than any of the off-shoots of the caste. But it is 
probable that they have risen in civilization through the example 
and influence of the higher castes amongst whom they live, and 
that the Shanars of Tinnevelly, forming the bulk of the population 
in their various settlements and having few dealings with any 
other class, may be considered as retaining their original condition, 
and as still representing the religious and social state of the entire 
family prior to its separation and dispersion. 


In describing the religious belief and moral 
condition of the Shanars, and other inferior castes in Tinnevelly 
connected with them or influenced by them, it is not my intention 
to refer to those prejudices, passions, and practices which 
characterize Shanars and Pariars in common with all unregenerate 


men. They are " by nature children of wrathand have inherited 
a corrupted nature " even as others :" consequently, in the love of 
evil and the dislike of good, in weakness of principle and strength 
of passion, we shall find the main features of their character 
exemplified wherever fallen men are found. I shall restrict my 
observations to those particulars in which their religious and moral 
condition appear to differ from that of other classes of people in 
this or other countries. "All like sheep have gone astray;" but " 





6 


every one," it is said " hath turned to his own way:" and some 
advantage and interest may be found in considering the 
characteristics of the very peculiar phase of error which obtains in 
this province. 


I. THE REEIGION OF THE 5HANAR5 

It does not throw much light upon the Shanar 
religion to describe it as a form of Hinduism. It is no doubt 
equally deserving of the name with most of the religions of India ; 
but as those religions are not only multiform, but mutually 
opposed, the use of the common term " Hinduism " is liable to 
mislead. It is true that certain general theosophic ideas are 
supposed to pervade all the Hindu systems, and that theoretical 
unity is said to lurk beneath practical diversity. But this 
representation, though in some degree correct, is strictly applicable 
only to the mystical or metaphysical systems. Practically, the Hindu 
religions have few ideas and but few practices in common; and 
the vast majority of their votaries would be indignant at the 
supposition that their own religion, and the detested heresy of their 
opponents, are after all one and the same. Be this as it may. 
Missionaries have to deal, not with philosophical analogies or dead 
antiquities, but with the living and active religions of the heathen 
world. Their business is with the superstitions and practices of the 
heathen amongst whom they live, and with the opinions and local 
legends on which those superstitions are founded, according to the 
statement of the people themselves. Acting on this principle. 
Missionaries cannot consider Hinduism as one homogenous 
religion. The term," Hinduism," like the geographical term " India 
," is an European generalization unknown to the Hindus. The 
Hindus themselves call their religions by the name of the 
particular deity they worship, as " Siva bhakti," " Vishnu bhakti ," & 
c. The only exceptions are in the case of some of the un- 
Brahmanical lower classes, such as the Shanars, who, though they 




7 


hold a different faith, have not philosophy enough to invent a 

—«•»« ■ rrrr.r 

err't—r;r"r rr«** - 

He abstractly probable that most of the religions of India have 

ere; — ,,,i •,...«»«» ««-* * 

ru d.ot.« -h»“> rr 

deities whether Brahmarucal or not , are one , ' , 

id^s^obtaiiT'littte^s^npath^' 

and its contrariety to rival observances. I have tho g 

irt z ex xxxz xx r - 

^ . tt- j r1 par pc their superstitions and. 

rharacter of the various Hindu races, men f 

prejudices, are every where, the same ; that the best ^ 

rSSrrSrr x jzzz . 

XZ2X “vrS"r;r 

acauainted with only one phase of Hinduism, ana v 

felt some misgivings as to the result 






8 


Vedantist Brahmans ? Yet in Tinnevelly, amongst a population of 
more than 8,00,000 souls, I think I may assert with safety that 
there are not to be found eight individuals who know so much of 
Vedantism as may be picked up by an European student in an 
hour from the perusal of any European tractate on the subject. And 
though I have no doubt but that some persons may be found in 
Tinnevelly who profess the system, I have not yet myself met with, 
or heard of a single person who is supposed to profess it as a 
whole,much less understand it. On the other hand there are 
certain facts and truths proper to Christianity, such as the doctrine 
of our redemption by sacrifice, which are peculiarly offensive to 
some of the Brahmanical sects, and are supposed to be offensive to 
the Hindu mind every where, but which convey no offence in 
Tinnevelly, where the shedding of blood in sacrifice and the 

substitution of life for life are ideas with which the people are 
familiar. 

It is necessary to remember that many 
contradictory creeds are denoted by the common term Hinduism, in 
order to understand the religious condition of the lower castes in 
Tinnevelly. The Shanars, though not of the Brahmanical or Sanscrit- 
speaking race, are as truly Hindus as are any class in India. 
Nevertheless their connection with the Brahmanical systems of 
dogmas and observances, commonly described in the mass as 
Hinduism, is so small that they may be considered as votaries of a 
different religion. It may be true that the Brahmans have reserved 
a place m their Pantheon, or Pandemonium, for local divinities and 
even for aboriginal demons; but in this the policy of conquerors is 
exemplified, rather than the discrimination of philosophies, or the 
exclusiveness of honest believers. 

I shall now endeavour to illustrate the religious 
condition of the Shanars by giving some account of their creed 
and observances. 



9 


i the shanar ideas respecting the divine being 

It is not easy to determine whether it is part of their 
religious system,or not,to believe that there is a God, the^creator 
of all things and the ruler of the world. I think the most that can 
-e said is that there are traces amongst them of a vague, 

—ary belief in the —e - 

"eVLirZt'unmixed, unmodified heathenism can now 
" be met with amongst them. When Christians and heavens 
Uve together in the same village, and the children of both classes 
-tend^the same school, Christian expressions and even Chris 
S — property.The 

God of which Christians are accustomed to speak, are n 
unfrequently transferred to the use of some heathen divinity, or 
some old, indistinct abstraction; and on entering.into conv ®J s 
with the more intelligent and less bigotted heathens,you 
Im representing as entertained and confessed by every one 
naturally, truths which they themselves orMheir 

from their Christian neighbours. Hence, thoug existence o£ 

you meet will more or less explicitly acknowle g _ t 

me supreme God and His creation and cognizance of J, 

may just ly be affirmed that this acknowledgment springs‘from 
"lent influence or implicit reception of the Christian truths which 
have become so widely known. In just the same manner some 
oL European philosophers purloin from Christianity a few 
elementatary truths which man's unaided intellect never 
could discover, and style them " Natural Religion. 

It is useless to seek for traces of a belief in the existence 
of God in the literature of the Shanars; for that if a few oggere 
rhvmes deserve the name, is either of Brahmamca «ngm » 
therefore foreign, or it is confined to the recital of the praises 
demons,the power of incantations,and the virtues of median . 









10 


In searching for traces of an original belief in the 
existence of God, the only information I could obtain was oun 
the unprompted talk of old people ^ ^ 

'V°, Z «!—»»«-»» »- tlcl 

Z ,fSZ»y -- •rS^^ST 

■r. rs. £t- **- 

tii . zzzz, 

“ ££ Z -Za -» - »< = ““ * ttl „ 

slaying their child; and hence it may be su PP° Sed ' 
construction, that they consider him as ^audto^hfe. These ^ 

scanty facts exhibit the only traces I have m 

y . r rnr i aDar t from Brahmanical legends, and th 

the existence of God, apart trom introduced 

influence of Christianity. Wherever Christianity has been 

»*=■"— 

The Shanars nominally acknowledge as deities som 
0 f th e most renowned of the gods of the Brahmanical mythologres, 
bu^generally speaking they know only their names, and a few 
"opuTar myths in whL they figure as heroes. And with * 
exception of one solitary case I have not discovered the le st 
I vestige of their acquaintances with the Pan-theistic no o , 





11 


; ,pular with the Tamil poets,that God is an all-pervading essence 
ithout qualities or acts. 

Notwithstanding their traditional use of the name of 
. j fViat practically the Shanars are 
?ne God, it may e ^ sser existence, and that their only real 

destitute of the belief m have received from 

faith is in demonolatry. The y ° n ° d/ creation of the world 
others anyHis Omniscience, 
or government of it y ti(jn js an en d of all strife." 

except when an oath wond rous works, or of the 

TKey are never heard to sp ^ ^ „ without God 

glorious honor| of J ^ £uU of divine philosophy, is 

; "Iretar dead matter, without a mind or a heart. 

Hence, it is that when heathen Shanars come in 

**» 

new in their ears;but they rare]iy °PP<^ ^ ^ ^ q{ argument 

CSen end/ by^ettered Native Christians in their 

frequently adopteu uy S eems g0 

intercourse with the hertm^w ^ the perso ns to 

illogical, has some P-chc a ^°rc ^ ^ ^ ^ _ there is a 

whom it is addressed. g therefore the 

God and all things have beenjna e^y bgen presen t 

Christian religion is t e on y heat hens seemed as much 

when this argument was used, and 

puzzled for a § n answer, as the Christian was triumphant. 





12 


2. THE SHANARS IDEAS, RESPECTING A FUTURE STATE 

It sometimes happens, however inconsistently, that 
eathen tribes who are ignorant of the existence of a great first 
:ause, or imperfectly persuaded of His existence, believe in the life 
:: the soul after death. But in the case of the Shanars I have not 
observed this inconsistency. So far as I have been able to learn, it 
does not appear to me that belief in the conscious existence of 
every human soul after death, much less belief in a state of 
rewards and punishments hereafter, forms any part of the Shanar 
creed. The only thing bordering upon this belief which I have 
noticed is the popular superstition upon which demonolatry is 
rounded. When a person has died a sudden, untimely, or violent 
death, especially if he had been remarkable for crimes or violence 
of temper in his life time, it is frequently supposed that his spirit 
haunts the place where his body lies, or wanders to and fro in the 
neighbourhood. If this spirit were simply supposed to be the soul 
or disembodied mind of the deceased, without any material 
alteration in its attributes, the idea would clearly correspond with 
the European superstition respecting ghosts, a superstition founded 
on the Christian doctrine of the immortality of the soul. But in the 
5hanar creed the annihilation of the soul or thinking principle, 
when the body dies, is the general rule, and its transformation into 
a ghost is only an occasional exception,limited to particular cases; 
and besides, the Shanar spirit is not so much considered the ghost 
of the deceased as a newly-born demon, an aerification and 
amplification of the bad features of the deceased person's character 
, a goblin which, with the acquisition of super-human power, has 
acquired super-human malignity. This belief sometimes takes the 
more Brahmanical shape of a re-animation and spiritualization of 
the dead body itself by a demon; but in its purely Shanar form it 
may be considered as leading to the supposition that the Shanars 
originally possessed some obscure notions respecting the separate 
existence of the soul after death, of which this is the only 
remaining trace. They have it is true, a primitive Tamil word 





12 


1 „ Tr —c* 

ieathen tribes who are ** believe in the life 

ause, or imperfectly pe-uaded o ^ ^ ^ £ have n o 

i the soul after death. But m ^ ^ been able t0 learn, >t 

observed this inconsistency^ ^ ^ consdous existence of 
does not appear to me th in a state of 

every human soul after any par t of the Shanar 

rewards and punishments here ^ ^ which I have 

creed. The only thing torder11 ^ J which demonolatry is 

noticed is the popular supers sudden , untimely, or violent 

founded. When a person has die We for crim es or violence 

death,especially if he had bee ^ supposed that his spirit 

of temper in his life time, 1 wanders to and fro m th 

haunts the place where is Y ' , supposed to be the sou 
neighbourhood. If this s f" Ivithout any material 

or disembodied mind of the clear ly correspond with 

alteration in its attributes, ld superstition founded 

-he European superstihon of the soul. But in the 

jn the Christian doctrine soul or thinking principle, 

ihanar creed the annihilation transformation into 

1. «< w <««'“ ‘“jXSSSld« v*** 

a ghost is only an occasional ex ^ ^ ^ considered the ghost 
and besides, the Shanar spin ^ aerification and 

of the deceased as a newW-born d ^ perso n's character 
amplification of the bad e q£ super -human power, has 

a goblin which, with * e acc l belie f sometimes takes the 

acquired super-human ma ,g ™^' imatio n and spiritualization of 

more Brahmanical shape of a r-a pu rely Shanar form it 

the dead body itself by supposition that theShanars 

may be considered as notions respecting the separate 

originally possessed son* ^ this is the only 

exis tence of the sou ^ . g ttue , a primitive Tamil wor 
remaining trace. y 

i 




13 


denoting " a spirit " or ghost; but the word which denotes the soul 
according to the Christian or philosophical meaning of the term, is 
a Sanscrit one, belonging consequently to the terminology of a 
different religion; and that word is little if at all used or known, 
except by those who are familiar with the phraseology adopted by 
Christians. 

Through the prevalence of Brahmanical ideas and rites 
amongst the higher classes of the Tamil people, and the partial 
imitation of the usages of those classes by the wealthier Shanars,a 
:ew things are occasionally observed which might be mistaken for 
races of a belief in the immortality of the soul. For instance, the 
ceremonies performed in behalf of the dead are connected with the 
relief in their continued existence. But such ceremonies are 
rerformed only by a few of the more aspiring Shanars, who like to 
iritate the manners of the higher castes; and the Brahmanical 
rr.ebn of the ceremonies themselves is historically known. Again, 
some of the wealthier and more educated Shanars may appear to 
hold the Brahmanical doctrine of the transmigration of souls; but 
their belief in it is merely nominal, and only exhibited in half- 
f amest. For instance, when a man is about to utter an enormous 
Be he will say with a knowing look," if what I am going to tell 
Ire not true, may I be born a maggot ." The belief goes no further; 
ir d expressions of this kind are not heard amongst the mass of 
."changed, unsophisticated Shanars, whose ideas of the existence 
of the soul after death have not taken even so crude a shape. In 
so far, therefore, as the psychology of the Shanars can be 
ii-rertained, it may be asserted as their opinion that in all ordinary 
cases when a man dies, he has ceased to be ; there is an end of 
775 hopes and fears; and every thing that he was is dissipated in 
the smoke of his incremation, or resolved into the earth in which is 
laid. 

The consequence of obliterating the doctrine of a future 
~:a:e from the creed of reducing man to a merely material 
::ndition, and precluding the belief of his being called to account 











14 


r his actions hereafter, may readily be conceived by the Christian 
~^*00ci 

So common and so deeply rooted amongst the Shanars 
^“s^ ot^s in the way of their sincere 

-eception and consistent profession of Christianity, andthengrowth 

* L ce; and not unfrequently ; when their fatth ts trred by some 
unusual disappointment or calamity,and found wanting, tfu 
hereditary materialism proves the cause of their relapse mto 
iemonolatry. To every consoling argument they mutter m repy, 
who has seen heaven ? who has seen he . 






15 


3. THE SHANAR WORSHIP OF DEVILS 

. . i _£ Shanars has appeared to be a 

Ta'desert in which no trace of religious ideas is found. 

When Missionaries allude to the de ^ w “ 5 ^ devi)s 

T mnevelly, some persons "suppose^ ; ^ ^ ^ 

we mean the gods wors ipp e d to have been the 

-~ em " devils ” because '^e'heathen world. It is thought that 

inventors of the religions have known our 

we use the term in a controvert se "^ ed int0 an 
-se of it attributed to religious rancou^ ^ ^ that in describing 

-tentional insult to ^ h f°u^ on of the Shanars as devil-worship, 

,-e positive portion o J ^ one we know, but 

-■« word used is Y the ghanars 

* exactly corresponds wi* the^ ^ existence of G od,they 

remselves. In so far as y S and as t h e re are some 

t0 “Ictefof most of the Brahmanical deities, 

^^rjm also good spinor * 

■shinned by themselves and their forefathers are 
ershipped y _ bona fide fiends; and it is 

'=* ° c £ be n n cessary to worship them simply and solely 

. opposed to be necess y t) demon olatry, or devil- 

because they are malignant q ^ of the Shana rs can 

: rship, is the only term y w , ^ ma y have in 

re accurately described. Whatever belief ^of them^ 

- - f existence of God, they appear ^brahmanical 

i -s not need to be appeased; and even such^o ^ 

ce.ties as have obtained a pace m c liment of a passing 

--erely with an annual festiva an different temper, 

-ow But their own devils, being spirits of a ve^ 

-us, watchful, and Specially 

earnestness and assiduity of a real beliet. 



16 


more wealthy of them,have no objection to be considered 
. rshippers of the gods of the Brahmans on high days and 

- lavs. The worship of Subrahmanya, the second son of Siva, 

-a-.mg been popular in Peninsular India, from an early period, the 

nritv of the Shanars symbolize with the higher castes by 

— ling the annual festival to his honor at Trichendoor, Shasta 
afao the Hari-hara-putra of the Brahmans,and rather a demon-king 
tfcan a divinity, being guardian of boundaries and protector of 
piddy fields, is worshipped to a considerable extent in his officia 
relations. But in those extensive tracts of country where the Shanars 

- the bulk of the population, and the cultivation of the pa myra 
s the ordinary employment of the people, the Brahmanical deities 
rarelv receive any notice; and the appearance on the foreheads o 

n few of the more devout, or of the wealthier class, of a streak of 
ashes, the distinctive mark of Sivism, is the only trace or sign 
: me influence of legitimate Brahmanism which one can see. 

T - monism in one shape or another may be said to rule the 
- -mars with undisputed authority. The worship of their own 
c-irons forms the religion not of a passing holiday only,but of 
- T . e very-day life;and is that which governs their minds,sways 

- - wills, and influences their character, and to which they 

- ariably flee in sickness and loss. 

A few of the demons are forms of Cali, connected 
-a debased and comparatively modem development of the 
Brahmanical system itself; and, as such, they are known by 
different name," Ammen," or mother, and their worship is marked 

- iome distinctive peculiarities. It is performed not by every one 
no pleases ,as devil-worship is,but by a particular class of 

Soodra priests. A large majority however of the devils are o 
F irely Shanar or Tamil origin, and totally unconnected with 

rrihinanism. 

I shall now mention some particulars illustrative of the 
-pinions entertained respecting these demons and the peculiarities 
:,f their worship, as it exists at present. I shall not attempt to enter 


17 


. 7 : r a minute description of the system, or exemplify it by 
ioedfic illustrations; but shall confine myself to the more general 
~ rTt of furnishing the reader with a sketch of its salient points 
me more prominent characteristics, and helping him to form an 
- 7 mate of its tendencies and effects. My description will therefore 
icclv rather to the genus 

■ iemon" than to any demon in particular - rather to the points in 
r. ch all diabolical rites agree than to local or incidental varieties. 

As has already been mentioned, the majority of the 
ievils are supposed to have originally been human beings; and the 
of persons most frequently supposed to have been 
lea " Stormed into devils are those who had met with a sudden or 
v -mt death, especially if they had made themselves dreaded in 
t* _r life time. Devils may in consequence be either male or female, 

< aw or high caste, of Hindu or foreign lineage . Their character 
and mode of life seem to be little if at all modified by differences 
r this nature. All are powerful, malicious and interfering; and all 
are desirous of bloody sacrifices and frantic dances. The only 

c rerences apparent are in the structure of the temple or image 
- : to their honor, the insignia worn by their priests, the minutiae 

< : the ceremonies observed in their worship, the preference of the 
isa rrifice of a goat by one, a hog by another, and a cock by a 

r rd,or in the addition of libations or ardent spirits for which 
~ - liar demons stipulate. As for their abode, the majority of the 
5evils are supposed to dwell in trees; some wander to and fro, 
i" d go up and down, in uninhabited wastes; some skulk in shady 
rreats. Sometimes they take up their abode in houses ; and it 
: ;:fn happens that a devil will take a fancy to dispossess the soul 
"d inhabit the body of one of his votaries; in which case the 
r ersonal consciousness of the possessed party ceases, and the 
^reaming, gesticulating, and pythonizing are supposed to be the 
lemon's acts. 

Every malady however trivial is supposed by the more 
; _ perstitions to be inflicted by a devil, and a sacrifice is necessary 




18 


n ts removal; but the unusual severity or continuance of any 

■ - ise, or the appearance of symptoms which are not recorded in 

physician's shastra are proofs of possession of which no Shanar 
; . entertain any doubt. The medical science of so rude a people 
reing very extensive, cases of unquestionable possession are of 

- ; _ ; nt occurrence. When a woman is heard to laugh and weep 
t , -^telv, without any adequate cause, or shriek and look wild 
„ no snake or wild beast can be perceived, what Shanar can 

. --cse anything but a devil to be the cause of the mischief? The 
: - e doctor, himself a Shanar,is sent for to give his advice.He 
nr-R his library with him,(he can't read,but it is all safe in his 

- -on-,) - his " complete science of medicine in one hundred 
sards', as revealed by the sage Agastya to his disciple Pulastya; 

in vain he recites his prescriptions, in vain he coins hard 
- is. As no description of hysterical complaints is contained in 
. iuthorities, what can he do but decide that a devil has taken 

- -ession of the woman, and recommend that a sacrifice be 

■ ,red to him forthwith, with a cloth and a white fowl to the 

: rtor? Sometimes the possession takes the shape of a stroke o 
r e sun, epilepsy or catalepsy, a sudden fright, mania, or the 

-so and stupor caused by an overflow of bile. But any ordinary 
-sase, when it seems incurable, and the patient begins to waste 
iy, is pronounced a possession. 

Sometimes the friends are not desirous of expelling the 
. spirit all at once, but send for music, get up a devil-dance, and 
, upon the demon to prophesy. This is particularly the case when 
some member of the family has long been sick, and they are 
anxious to know what is to be the result of the sickness, and are 
shing and waiting for a demon's visit. 

If they desire to expel the devil,there is no lack of 
r nving ceremonies and powerful incantations, each of which has 
: tried and found successful innumerable times. If the devil 

should prove an obstinate one and refuse to leave, charm they 
-ever so wisely,his retreat may generally be hastened by the 







.gorous application of a slipper or a broom to the Jouldersrf 
he possessed person, the operator taking the 

time the most scurrilous language he can tlunk C M t 
;emoniae loses his downcast, sullen look. He begm J5 g 

md writhe about under the slippering, and at le g ^ ^ ^ 

30" The y then ,; Sk H hI- whom Ihey have neglected ever 
-em he is such and himself by the name 

■ eaV6 '^“ 8 rdefor n a d sacrifice, as a compensation to his 

X“igno.n y of the — 

- w awakes as from a sleep, and appears to tia 

any thing that has happened. 

These possessions arenot restricted to 

-ave met with several cases amongst persons w st 

rlaced themselves under Christian ^JZLry 

-ahve Christians of h Shanars,were 

rmptoms of possession, as recognize ^ experience o£ moS t 

| developed. This correspon , re , atives in such cases do not 

:: the Missionaries in Tmnevel y. rcise the demon in the 

dunk themselves at liberty to attempt ‘° etimes been sent 

usual way. Accordingly the Missionanes have have 

- terfered, have generally succeeded to the peop 
I ell as to their own. Some of *e possession^^^ the 
—oral influences and alternatives; but in the ma,onty 
I -tost effectual exorcism is - tartar emetic. 

I do not say that real demoniacal possessions never 

I -ccur in heathen countries. Where Satan rules " °J*T ^ 
.d where belief in the reality and^u^of P = 

I delusions generally include a fact. 


20 


Bfc imrc 5 perfectly open to receive evidence on the subject; and 
Min ■ the number of astonishing cases that almost every 

Var‘ e says he has been told of by those who have seen them, I 
feme hoped some day to witness something of the kind myself. But 
[ have not yet had an opportunity of being present where 
IjBBetematural symptoms were exhibited; though I have sought for 
|pK3i it. :rportunity for nearly twelve years,the greater part of 
■hr acne in a devil-worshipping community. This is the experience, 
«r sar as I have heard, of all British and American Missionaries with 
'■hr exception of one dubious case. Our German brethren seem to 
Iftn r been more fortunate. 

The demons especially show their power in cases 
m : -' - ssion; but they are frequently contented with inflicting 
macr injuries. Not only the failure of rain, or a blight falling on 
reps but even the accidents and diseases which befall cattle, 
i tr i — ial losses in trade, are considered instances of a devil's 
iru : : ence. Sometimes, again, demons are content with frightening 
tr e i mid, without doing any real harm. People hear a strange noise 
a night ; and immediately they see a devil making his escape in 
■fee shape of a dog as large as a hyena, or a cat with eyes like 
t« Lamps. In the dusk of the evening devils have been observed 
im i burial or burning ground, assuming various shapes one after 
■mother as often as the eye of the observer is turned away ; and 
t* have often been known at night to ride across the country on 
- ?:ble horses, or glide over marshy lands in the shape of a 
wi-dering, flickering light. In all their journeyings they move along 
i rout touching the ground; their elevation above the ground 
reirg proportioned to their rank and importance. I have known a 
.:ge deserted and the people afraid even to remove the 
materials of their houses, in consequence of the terror caused by 
stones being thrown on their roofs at night by invisible hands. 

I -mons more malicious still have sometimes been known under 
rover of the night to insert combustible materials under the eaves 
: matched roofs. Even in the day time, about the close of the hot 




21 


■ A fail they may often be seen careering along 
season, when the winds fail, Y Y ^ whisking about in 

in the shape of a whirl-wmd c^g J ^ * lie in 

-heir fierce play every ry n0 goo d. They 

Mr *«*•»' ;””»“«>«■» -» 

often cause terror but n placated by sacrifice 

affection for their votaries. They must ^ ^ ^ supplicatmg 

because they are so h obtai ning a benefit seem to 

matter of course. lower dasses , regard 

Though the Natives, espec y p ea ns have no reason 
the demons with dread, they t • * sometim es made in the case of 
to fear; and a similar excep tbe Mahomedans is 

the Mahomedans. The go wo PP demons an d able to 
supposed to be more As for Europeans, no 

rrotect his worshippers protection. On the 

one considers that they require any tod ^ P ^ ^ 

principle enunciated by Bjto , against Israe l," the 

against Jacob ; neit er 1S Europ ean Christians as secure rom 

demonolaters seem to cons.d than a match for any of 

danger. They suppose them ence 0 f this immunity, 

the poor black man s rf an European are exposed to 

i whilst the servants an gees nor hea rs any thing 

I many alarms, their mas er n ^ ^ which the Natives 

I unusual. I have heard of on y tQ ^ rule o£ n on- 

I supposed that an exception was about to build his 

I interference with Europeans. A M * ^ ^ ^ wlth a 

1 house near a place where a ^ and at thiS/ it was said the 

I violent death-had taken up ‘ ' a heavy shower of rain 

I devil was highly displeased. Ev_ J ^ m onsoon,) it was 

I endeavouring to destroy the work. 


22 


And SUre enou gh, the neighbours saw that a great deal of damage 
done by the rain, and that a great deal of the work was 
destroyed. They saw however, that the Missionary, nothing daunted, 

rjilt up a ? ain what had fallen,and at length finished his house; 

* hereupon they came to the old conclusion that no demon could 
rc with an European; and ere long gave it out that the demon 
- question had removed his residence in disgust to another tree. 

In most of the particulars mentioned a similar 
superstition respecting goblins and demons will be found to exist all 
rr India. Every Hindu work containing allusions to Native life, 
** the Dicti onaries of all the Hindu dialects, prove the general 7 
prevalence of a belief in the existence of malicious or mischievous 
lemons in demoniacal inflictions and possessions, and in the power 
exorcisms. The chief peculiarity of the superstition, as it exists 
rr.gst the Shanars, consists in their systematic worship of the 
: .mons in which all believe. In every part of India innumerable 
~- r -r.ds respecting goblins and their malice are current; but 
warcely any trace of their worship in the proper sense of the term, 
mich less of their exclusive worship, can be discovered beyond the 
-_53icts in which Shanars, or other primitive illiterate tribes; are 
md ' In travelling down toTinnevelly from the north, the first 
i tilage which is found to be inhabited by Shanars, Virdupatty, 

-out 30 miles south of Madura, is the first place where I have 
: served systematic devil-worship. In like manners, in Travancore, 

: oil-worship appears to commence with the first appearance of 
- -: Shanar caste in the neighbourhood of Trivandrum; from 
ence lt becomes more and more prevalent as you approach 
Comorin. This superstition respecting demons, in whatever 
-m and under whatever modifications it may appear is come to 
Productive of evil; but it was reserved for the Shanars, and a 
: . other ^literate tribes to exemplify the debasing effect of it in 

extent h Y their worship of demons, a degradation beneath 
* human mind cannot descend. 




23 


The places in which the demons are worshipped are 
commonly termed " Pe coils " or " devil temples " ; but let no one 
suppose from the use of the word "temple" that the building 
possesses any architectural pretensions, or inquire to what order or 
style it belongs. Some of the temples, especially those erected to the 
sanguinary forms of Cali are small, mean, tomblike buildings, with 
an image at the further end of the cloister. But the majority of the 
devil-temples are of a still more primitive construction. The walls 
are built neither with stone nor brick; the roof is neither terraced 
nor tiled nor even thatched ; and they have neither porches nor 
renetralia. A heap of earth raised into a pyramidical shape and 
adorned with streaks of white-wash, sometimes alternating with 
red ochre, constitutes, in the majority of cases, both the temple an 
the demon's image ; and a smaller heap in front of the temple 
with a flat surface forms the altar. In such cases a large 
conspicuous tree - a tamarind, an umbrella tree, or even a palmyra 
whose leaves have never been cut or trimmed-will generally be 
observed in the vicinity. This tree is supposed to be the devil's 
ordinary dwelling place, from which he snuffs up the odour of the 
sacrificial blood and descends unseen to join in the feast. The devi- 
pyramid is sometimes built of brick and stuccoed over ; and when 
thus built of coherent materials it rises into something of the s ape 
of an obelisk. So far as I have seen, the angles of the pyramid are 
made to correspond with the cardinal points. Its height rarely 
exceeds eight feet and is generally less than five. Thispyramida 
obelisk is a distinguishing characteristic of devil-worship, and 
arrears to have no counterpart in Brahmanism or any other ism m 
India. I have often wished to discover what was supposed to be 
e-.gnified by this peculiar style of image; but never met with any 
me who could give me any information. 

Sometimes the worshippers go to the expense of 
building walls and a roof for the permanent accommodation of 

their demon, with a porch for the musicians. The devil in this case 
reing of Brahmanical lineage, they generally erect an image to is 


24 


- nor, in imitation of their Brahmanical neighbours. Such images 
generally accord with those monstrous figures with which all over 

-;:a orthodox Hindus depict the enemies of gods, or the terrific 
—£ of Siva or Durga. They are generally made of earthen-ware, 
ranted white to look horrible in Hindu eyes; with numerous up- 
sed hands and instruments of torture and death in each, and the 
■presentation of infants crushed between their teeth; or with 

- .ralo-heads and huge prickly clubs. In every such case the artist 

- -rows his realization of the fiend's character from images 

- nted and patronized by the meek Brahmans themselves. In the 
V. rrship of the aboriginal Shanar devils, the pyramid I have 

- -tioned is the nearest approach to an image which I have 
(reserved. It is worthy of remark that every word which denotes an 

- a re is of Sanscrit origin, and as such, must have been introduced 

- the Brahmans. 

When it is determined to offer a sacrifice to a devil a 
:son is appointed to act the part of a priest. Devil-worship is not 
ike the worship of the deities, whether supreme or subordinate, 

. r rropriated to a particular order of men, but may be performed 

- Dne who chooses. This priest is styled a " devil - dancer." 

_ - nally one of the principal men of the village officiates; but 

- metimes the duty is voluntarily undertaken by some devotee, 
xale or female, who wishes to gain notoriety, or in whom the sight 
c - the preparations excites a sudden zeal. The officiating priest, 

- oever he may happen to be, is dressed for the occasion in the 
sonents and ornaments appropriate to the particular devil 
: rshipped. The object in view in donning the demon's insignia is 
strike terror into the imagination of the beholders. But the party- 
: oured dress and grotesque ornaments, the cap and trident and 
ogling bells of the performer, bear so close a resemblance to the 
-sual adjuncts of a pantomime that an European would find it 
difficult to look grave. The musical instruments, or rather the 
r struments of noise, chiefly used in the devil-dance are the tom- 
:: m, or ordinary Indian drum, and the horn; with occasionally the 



25 


addition of a clarionet when the parties can afford it. But the 
§i ;rite instrument,because the noisiest,is that which is called the 
A series of bells of various sizes is fastened to the frame of a 

- r antic bow; the strings are tightened so as to emit a musical 
a*xe when struck; and the bow rests on a large empty brazen pot. 
-- e instrument is played on by a plectrum, and several musicians 

, in the performance. One strikes the string of the bow with the 

- edrurn, another produces the base by striking the brazen pot 

„ his hand, and the third keeps time and improves the harmony 
1* i pair of cymbals. As each musician kindles in his work and 

— -es to outstrip his neighbour in the rapidity of his flourishes, 
arvi in the loudness of the tone with which he sings the 

j*x :mpaniments, the result is a tumult of frightful sounds, such as 
— 2 " be supposed to delight even a demons ear. 

When the preparations are completed and the devil- 
iir.ze is about to commence, the music is at first comparatively 
and the dancer seems impassive and sullen and either he 
-ris still, or moves about in gloomy silence. Gradually, as the 

— _ - becomes quicker and louder, his excitement begins to rise. 
Sccr.etimes to help him to work himself up into a frenzy he uses 
abdicated draughts, eats and lacerates his flesh till the blood 

s, lashes himself with a huge whip, presses a burning torch to 
K - breast, drinks the blood which flows from his own wounds, or 
c rl<s the blood of the sacrifice, putting the throat of the 
decapitated goat to his mouth. Then, as if he had acquired new 
It- he begins to brandish his staff of bells and dance with a quick 
, rut wild, unsteady step. Suddenly the afflatus descends. There is no 
-.staking that glare, or those frantic leaps. He snorts; he stares;he 
: rates. The demon has now taken bodily possession of him ; and 
; ugh he retains the power of utterance and of motion, both are 
_-ier the demon's control, and his separate consciousness is in 
advance. The by-standers signalize the event by raising a long 
shout attended with a peculiar vibratory noise, caused by the 
action of the hand and tongue, or the tongue alone. The devil- 



26 


.lancer is now worshipped as a present deity, and every by-stander 
consults him respecting his disease, his wants, the welfare of his 
a rsent relatives, the offerings to be made for the accomplishment 
:: his wishes, and, in short, every thing for which superhuman 
knowledge is supposed to be available. As the devil-dancer acts to 
"" miration the part of a maniac, it requires some experience to 
. able a person to interpret his dubious or unmeaning replies-his 
' uttered voices and uncouth gestures; but the wishes of the 

rarties who consult him help them greatly to interpret his 
meaning. 


Sometimes the devil-dance and the demoniacal 
nruoyance are extemporized, especially where the mass of the 
reople are peculiarly addicted to devil-worship, and perfectly 
umuliar with the various stages of the process. In such cases,if a 
nerson happen to feel the commencement of the shivering fit of an 

- -ue or the vertigo of a bilious headache, his untutored 
-agination teaches him to think himself possessed. He then sways 

“ head from Slde to side,fixes his eyes into a stare,puts himself 
unto a posture, and begins the maniac dance; and the by-standers 

- :or flowers and fruit for an offering, or a cock or goat to 
-iurifice to his honor. 

The night is the time usually devoted to the orgies of 
^evil-dancing. And as the number of devils worshipped is in some 
- 'tr.as equal to the number of the worshippers, and as every act 
: worship is accompanied with the monotonous din of drums and 
<e bray of horns, the stillness of the night, especially during the 
prevalence of Cholera or any other epidemical disease, is frequently 
ken by a dismal uproar, more painful to hear on account of the 
issociations connected with it, than on account of its unpleasant 
~::ect on the ear and nerves. 

I have so often made inquiries on this and kindred 
subjects, and so often heard these scenes described by those who 
■ a: formerly taken part in them, that the account I have given. 






27 


2.‘ing allowance for local diversities, is I am sure substantially 
i rrect. But I have not myself witnessed these orgies, except from a 
: stance; nor is it always practicable to gain a near view of them, 

: the presence of an European, by which term is meant in these 
r : f a Missionary, is supposed to be a hindrance to the 
performance of the worship. If a Missionary approach, the dancing 
r -:2r:.y ceases, and the demon cannot be prevailed upon to show 
Itirriself. This may partly arise from the idea already referred to, that 
“e -evil's power is inferior to that of the white man; but it is 
aps mainly the result of an intuitive feeling of shame, or, in 
" ~ - -distances of the wish to behave politely to a person whom 
respect and who is known to regard their worship with 
jcrorrence. 


( 2.) THE OFFERING OF BLOODY SACRIFICES 

One of the most important parts of the system of devil- 
* is the offering of goats, sheep, fowls & c. in sacrifice, for 

r . purpose of appeasing the anger of the demons and inducing 
r to remove the calamities they have inflicted, or abstain from 
Diilicting the calamities which they are supposed to have 
fcreatened. This is one of the most striking points of difference 
een the demonolatrous system and Brahmanism. It points to a 
antiquity; and, though now connected with a base 
superstition, is more capable of guiding the mind to the reception 
a ^uistiarnty than any thing which Brahmanism contains. 

There is nothing very peculiar in the manner in which the 
sacruice is performed. 

Hie animal which is to be offered in sacrifice is led to the 
: :- r of the devil-temple adorned with red ochre and garlands of 






28 


Ordinarily its had is separated from the body by a single 
«cr> r of a bill-hook; the sacrifice being considered unacceptable to 
n : e —ion if more than one blow is required. The decapitated 
>>: .5 then held up so that all the blood it contains may flow 

pifcf _ron the demon's altar. The sacrifice being now completed the 
■Beal is cut up on the spot,made into curry, and,with the 
.:: - n of the boiled rice and fruit offered to the demon on the 
name xcasion, forms a sacred meal of which all who have joined 
B ihe sacrifice receives a share. 

The sole object of the sacrifice is the removal of the 
fm 5 anger or of the calamities which his anger brings down. It 
A _ i be distinctly understood that sacrifices are never offered on 
■ _r.t of the sins of the worshippers, and that the devil's anger 
B r:: excited by any moral offence. The religion of the Shanars, 
wacr. as it is, has no connection with morals. The most common 
zm eve in sacrificing to the devil is that of obtaining relief in 
Bo ess; and in that case at least the rationale of the rite is 
p: r- : entlv clear. It consists in offering the demon, life for life -- 
Ifaod for blood. The demon thirsts for the life of his votary or, 

- that of his child ; and by a little ceremony and show of 
gsp ect a little music and a little coaxing, he may be prevailed 
uccr to be content with the life of a goat instead. Accordingly a 
:s sacrificed; its blood is poured out upon the demon's altar, 
■n d -.he offerer goes free. 

The Shanars have not intellect enough to frame for 
t - “selves a theory of substitution; but their practice and their 
mode of expression prove that they consider their sacrifices as 
substitutions and nothing else. And there is abundant reason to 
bebeve that at a former period the doctrine of substitution was 
2rr*ed out to the extent of offering human sacrifices to the 
: t t : ns — a practice systematically followed to the present day by 
j bonds, the most primitive and least Brahmanized portion of 
rue aboriginal Tamil race. 




29 


From the particulars now mentioned it is sufficiently obvio 
if in some things the Shanars are farther than other Hindus 

- - Christianity; they are in a better position for understanding 

-and Christian doctrine of redemption by sacrifice. It is (rue 

- . - - re place of the supreme God is supplied by blood-thirsty 
Bo* and that with the rite of sacrifice confession of guilt is no 
ELd.No trace remains of the fate of the victim having been 
« I. rered a symbol of what the offerer himself deserved, nor 
CLqoently is there any trace of the idea of the remova of sin 

v • -* sacrifice of the substitute ; and of course sacrificial rites are 
~ supposed to point to a sacrifice of greater efficacy beyond. 

K-- -rtheles, the fact of the prevalence of bloody sacrifices for t e 
L* aval of the anger of superior powers is one of the most 
Elgin the religious condition of the Shanars, and is appealed 
[ - :h e Christian Missionary with the best effect. The primitive 

. Ldition is sadly distorted, but some portion of it still remains to 

fees* witness to the truth. 

With the extension of Christianity devil-worship is 
Lhv declining; and the diminution of offerings and influence 
< --^ted with the declension of their worship is supposed to 
[ Ue given the demons such offence that they are now less 
,:able than formerly. I have heard a Shanar naive y comp ai 
toaTin his youth people could keep the Cholera out of their 
■ >res,but that now,the Christian religion has prevailed to sue 

extent that it is scarcely possible even to keep the devils in 
so that the mortality from Cholera has greatly increased. 

J. -twithstanding this complaint, devil-worship in many dlstrlcts 0 
r i country is as rampant as ever; and it must be confessed that 
-- amongst the Christian community it has not entire y 
; irreared. A large number of the people commonly called 
’Christians" are still unbaptized ; and of those who are baptized 
, considerable proportion, as in every other community, are 
- -ritute of real principle and faith. It is obvious that the 
-i—onolatrv in which they were brought up cannot be eradicated 





30 


■ am thing less powerful that a sincere belief in Christianity and 
, - -dcipation in the" spirit of power, of love, and of a soun 

r which a sincere belief communicates. Consequently, then 

:encv to mix up sacrifices to devils m times of prosperity 
e a cause of no little conflict and disquiet in the days of th 
L ec multitude " who compose the first generation o conver s^ 

CL of this class of persons it is considered a wise policy to p 
t lod terms with both God and the devil; and when disease is 
Id- id, if a goat given in sacrifice, (particularly if it can^ be offer 
L OTetly as that neither Missionary nor Catechist shall know 
C ) will have the effect of pacifying the devil the and 
I out of the house,what prudent man would grudge thed 

I Z sacrifice of a goat ? The principle involved herein is 

rsdered to be the same as that on which they act m subsid g 
Maravers - the hereditary thieves of the district. No one 
Lts iers this an offence against the civil magistrate. Far from 
■ -dering it an offence,the magistrate himself sanctions e 
■a -rice. Why then, think they,should it be considered an o££en 
. -t God to pay an occasional subsidy to keep the devils qumt. 

„ —lese remarks it should be remembered that I refer not toth 
Leve Christians of Tinnevelly in a body, nor even to the ma) ty 

r neophytes, but to the daily-diminishing minority o e 
. ~ r -.ncipled and uneducated. 

The demonolatrous creed I have now described 
L - s in India more extensively, and has probably existed from 
Li cher antiquity,than is generally imagined.With some vana ons 
ir; ■ - found in all the hill regions and amongst all the se ™ <lvl£lZ 
L migratory tribes who have not yet been enslaved by the higher 
. . and completely subjugated to Brahmanism; an P revaI ® 

r ,- re or less among the lower classes throughout India espec y 
* allied with the worship of the female forms of Siva. In its mos 

rrcritive shape,never superseded and scarcely at a m ° ‘ ie ' 

■—« .as has been said,the creed of the greater part of Tinnevely 
, of the Tamil portion of Travancore , wherever Shanars 










31 


—dominate. In all the Mission stations in Tinnevelly and sout 
ancore the Native Christians,with here and there a rare 
. ration,were once worshippers of devils. 

The Brahmans, and some of the higher castes who 
L e adopted their prejudices, profess to despise both the devils 
i_- d their worship , and even the worship of the Ammens, and 
m old reckon it an insult to be considered capable of 
«-descending to worship a low caste demon.But in times o 
c j-utv Brahmans do not hesitate to worship the Ammens; and 
I- e even been accused of making offerings to demons,by stealth, 
P --rough the mediation of persons of a lower caste. 

Emigrants from the Telugu country, who form a 
ierable portion of the population in some parts of Tinnevelly, 
e generally become worshippers of devils. But the system more 
* Civ followed by this class is the worship of the satellites of t e 
:- —.anical deities,or that of the female Energies.Such devils,in 
-ce rroper sense of the term, as they are found to worship are o 
|rl~ origin,as their names denote,and were probably 
■ shipped at first from a wish to conciliate the gods of the soil. 

—-IP ORIGIN OF THE SHANAR DEMONOLATRY lies m the 

L.-depths of antiquity, an antiquity apparently equal to that 

L worship of the elements or the heavenly bodies. If the 
L^ ons contained in the Vedas to the victories gained by the 
, er.entarv deities over hostile fiends be considered a mythic 
r-mentation of historical facts, the worship of devils would seem 
L' -Ive been anterior to the Vedaic system itself. Of elementary 
[ -v_-up there is no trace whatever in the history , language, or 
La ,-es of any portion of the Tamil people. The emigration of the 
B -. -mans to Peninsular India appears, consequently, to have been 
equent to the first great change in their religious system e 
Eon they introduced was probably a rudimental form of Sivism 
a tendency to the mystical and mythological systems of t e 
- ras. There is not the least reason to suppose that the Ve aic 







32 


or elementary system was ever known in the Tamil country, ei er 
as an indigenous religion,or as introduced by the Brahmans. 
Brahmans were doubtless the civilizers of the Tamil people; an 
the traditional leader of the their migration, Agastya, is said to 
have reduced the Tamil language to order and to have given it a 
Grammar, yet not one of the old Tamil names of the elements, the 
heavenly bodies, or the operations of nature is masculine or 
feminine,as they are in Sanscrit,in accordance with the elementary 
doctrines of the Vedas; and there is not the least trace of the 
elements, or powers of nature, having at any time been considere 

as personal intelligence. 

The inventors of both the Vedaic and the 
iemonolatrous systems seem to have been equally destitute of 
moral sentiments. Each adored power not goodness, operations no 
_rtues;but whilst the former deified the operations of nature, the 
itter demonized the powers of heaven. 


It appears very improbable that demonolatry originated in 
-v form of Brahmanism. It may be true that from time to time 
-recially after the lapse of elementary worship into mysticism and 
- hero-worship into terrorism,a few Brahmanical ideas have been 
| • - ied to the demonolatry of the Shanars. A few of the demons 

L bo were formerly independent may have been tamed and taken 
the service of the petty divinities; or a particular devilmay 
ta represented as having formerly been a god and degrade to 
nrk of a demon for refusing to pay due worship to some 
■ -erior deity. Or, the Brahmans who civilized the peninsula, in 
. : -ointing to every class its specific objects and modes of worship 
biv have sanctioned the appropriation of certain local gob ms 
L- ' demons to the worship of the vile, aboriginal populace. But 
fee facts, far from accounting for the origin of demonolatry, ta e 
L rrevious existence for granted ; and there are many irec 
Ltons for assigning to demonolatry an origin mdepen ent o 
£ . ranism and anterior to its introduction into the Tamil country, 

# 

m - ,en into India. 




33 


(1.) In all Brahmanical myths the demons are 
represented as being the ancient enemies of the gods, as warring 
i gainst the gods, and sometimes gaining the upper-hand, and as 
-j-e inventors and special patrons of bloody sacrifices. Every new 
reity gains prodigious victories over the demons; and yet somehow 
they never are thoroughly conquered. This style of representation is 
-consistent with the idea that demonolatry is an off shoot of 
3 rahmanism; but will perfectly accord with the supposition that 
before the influx of the Brahmans from central Asia demonolatry 
as the religion of the early Tamil inhabitants of India, and that 
ne Brahmans on their arrival labored in vain to extirpate it. 

(2) In all Brahmanical books and legends in which the state 
r: the original inhabitants of Peninsular India is described,we are 
--erred to a period when demons ruled in the primeval jungles, 
2nd when those jungles were inhabited solely by vile sinners who 
ate flesh and offered bloody sacrifices. Contemporaneously with that 
reriod the sacred Brahmanical race, and all connected with it down 
- : its servile tribes, were represented as invariably worshipping the 
superior gods , and most commonly using unbloody rites. In like 
-anner the Buddhist represent Ceylon prior to the advent of 
: cidhism as having been overrun with serpent gods and demons. 


( *- Every word used in the Tamil country relative to the 
: rahmanical religions, the names of the gods , and the words 
ipplicable to their worship, belong to the Sanscrit, the Brahmanical 
tongue; whilst the names of the demons worshipped by the 
5 - mars in the south, the common term for devil, and the 
% mo us words used with reference to devil-worship are as 
uniformly Tamil. Just so in Western Africa, Mahomedan terms 
>; :r.c to the Arabic, whilst aboriginal Fetishism uses the native 
-cues. In a few cases in which the name of the Shanar demon is 
SmLrit, the facts of the affinity of its worship with the sanguinary 
-ship of Siva or Cali, and its late introduction into the Tamil 


34 


• fVio raSG of M&ri" 

« distoCtly "u"xl" e a-Cali of Ougein, the 

"let ofr—logy of devil-worship 
- 2 goddess. The fac ^ min d a tolera bly 

rarely Tamil throug system. With 

*. *• 

ce to the social state o enable any one to 

of the words in common use civilizers °f 

fc«mune what was introduced 1 y ^ arrival. All words 

T t msular India, and what tef ineme nt , aU that relate 

- ...... to science, literature and ment^ rel i gio n, 

• jr. advanced civilization, an ^ language of the 

Lsoul,and the invisible world,a ^ ordinary arts of life, 

fc^mans; whilst all words that r of a rude and 

*e race of nature,the wants fed manner the wo rds used 

■res-, a savage people, aie Tiim . lusiv ely Tamil,we are 

-h reference to devil-worship being - J qulty , and refer its 

I T "' 

v that there is not any priestly order 
14 It is worthy of rem£ V Every ac t of Brahmanical worship 
oted to the worship of devi ^ rf the inferior deities 

jecnires a priest; and evenm ^ ^ Brahmanica l emanations and 

Kki in the sanguinary wo opp osed to the claims of the 
..-.mens, (systems of ‘ influence d by their example 

Brahmans, but to a const e ^ ^ exclus ively devoted to the 
) me persons who offici 0n the contrary every 

iutv and a member of a priest . No t unfrequently 

.-;l-worshipper is , or ma >' ' g villa g e ; but he maybe 
be head-man acts as pries voluntary devotee, male or 

--^s £ ;::r—s z *-*—— to the 

— ale. This pan times. 

- -nation Of the system m very early 



35 


( 5 .) It is scarcely credible that the practice of offering bloody 
sacrifices to malignant demons should have originated with 
believers in either the Vedas or the “ Orthodox " Puranas. The 
comparatively recent origin of the ascetical worship of Siva and of 
*jie sanguinary worship of Durga is generally conceded ; and both 
:he theory on which those rites are founded and the practices 
"emselves are foreign to the genius of legitimate Brahmanism and 
*: the teaching of the entire circle of the philosophic schools. The 
- ,premacy of the Brahmans has always been directly attacked and 
■eir services set aside by the inventors and patrons of those 
l ir.guinary rites, who have in general been Sudras, and have 
ended priesthoods and successions of Gurus in their own caste to 
-re exclusion of the Brahmans. It is also to be remembered that in 
i hatever degree sanguinary rites may be practised by any portion 
the Hindus, in any part of India, they are directly opposed, not 


'sT’ 




||ir— f" ctr ether 

of the immense majority of the more cultivated Hindus and 

- rher castes. So extensively indeed have Brahmanical 
^les prevailed, and so express has ever been their opposition 

sar quinary rites, especially since the influence of Buddhism 
to be felt, that in every part of India, Hindus who consider 
dves par excellence orthodox regard the inviolability of life as 

- ost sacred of laws. It would appear, therefore, that in so far 
e Hindus of the higher castes have attributed to any of the 

deal deities a two-fold character - one a character of mercy, 
the other a cruel, sanguinary character, with a horrific form; 

.r so far as they have resorted to the practice of offering 
l?i :y sacrifices to any of these deities, on the dark side of his 
di .-* icter, to that extent they have rendered homage to the 
a* *.rlnal demonolatry and borrowed its spirit, either from a wish 
•i conciliate, or , as is more probable from their having imbibed a 
t ~ - .ierable share of the fear and gloom of their demonolatrous 
cicessors or neighbours. In a similar manner the Buddhists of 
* - = and Ceylon have added to Buddhism the worship of 




36 


- s demons, though nothing can be supposed more foreign 
genius of Buddhism than such a system. 

6 .) One of the clearest proofs of the un-Brahmanical 
: -evil-worship is obtained by a reference to the history of 
:_5 themselves. The process of demonification is still going on 
Cues* the Shanars; and in every case the characteristics of the 
itjC his worship are derived from the character and exploits 
‘ ;nan prototype. There is a continual succession of devils 
: die adoration of the Shanars, and after a time sinking 
~cetfulness; but not one of the more recent of the race has 
morion with the legends of Brahmanism. One of the demons 
Tired at present, Palaveshum, was a Maraver of a servile 
fc r ho made himself celebrated for his robberies and outrages 
Madura round to Quilon" during the latter period of the 
ian government. So celebrated has he become already that 
of persons are called after his name. Mahomedans also, 

: fccainly have no connection with Brahmanism, are supposed 
r become devils. But it is a still more remarkable fact, and 
which I suppose cannot easily be paralleled, that in the district 
: - ghbouring Missionary an European was till recently 

as a demon. From the rude verses which were sung in 
: ?n with his worship it would appear that he was an 
Officer, a Captain Pole, or some such name, who was 
wounded at the taking of the Travancore lines in A.D. 
i was buried abut 25 miles from the scene of the battle in 
: waste ; where, a few years after, his worship was 
“ed by the Shanars of the neighbourhood. His worship 
in the offering to his manes of spirituous liquors and 


Far from the system of demonolatry practiced by the 
having originally been taught by, or borrowed from, the 
ms , there is probable evidence that the Brahmanical system, 
ir as it was introduced, was considered by the Shanars a 
md rival creed, and expressly opposed as such. For 



37 


B- --- the grand national festival of the Shanars,the only day 
*r: -ehout the year which they keep as a holiday,that which they 
Egaier in a special manner the day of rejoicing appointed for 

, is the first day of the solar month of Adi. This, accordmg 
to - e Hindu Astronomy, is the first day of the sun's southern 
■ - but of this circumstances the Shanars know nothing. No 

Lc- can be more utterly ignorant of Astronomy than they are. 
t - far as they are concerned,the first of Adi is professedly 
L. . - ; a;ed as a festival in memory of Ravanathe RacshasaKing o 
t- :r. who on that day carried off Sita the wife of Rama,the 
L - _- 0 d 0 f the Brahmans. Ravana's prime-minister, Mahodara, is 

to have been a Shanar; and to this day the Shanars glory 
!, tte historical position gained for once by a member of their 
C - and rejoice over Rama's grief and in Ravana's joy ! Does no 
L - circumstance point both to the Cingalese origin of the Shanar 
a and to the prevalence amongst them in early times of anti- 
T--.~~;nical zeal? The Shanars have even succeeded in making 
upon Brahmanism.In a village in my neighbourhood 
j : - himself has been converted into a demon. Only think o t e 
E: carious hero-god of the Hindus, Rama-chandra, the conqueror of 
[ti- Racshasa and demons,and civilizer of the peninsula 

shipped as himself a demon with bloody sacrifices and devil- 
| ni and the usual frenzied orgies ! Here Brahmanism gives 
j«-c the name :the form and genius of the system are anto- 
t ohmanical ; and both the original independence and the 
I Lreditary predominance and strength of the Shanar system receive 

L* ir>t illustration. 

The religion of the Shanars though unconnected with 
Ifcahmanism is not without a parallel in the tropics. If a connection 
- -- be established between it and any other form of religion 1 
I Ti 1 . be classed with the superstitions of Western Africans a 
-T-riies of fetishism. In fetishism we observe the same 
- -^formation of the spirits of the dead into demons, the same 
• rship of demons by frantic dances and bloody sacrifices, the 






38 


r :ssessions and exorcisms, the same cruelty and fear and 
the same ignorance respecting a future state, the same 
. indolent, good-spirit half visible in the back-ground, t e 
e ssence of a regular priesthood, the same ignorance o 
sm , religious mendicancy and monasticism and of every 1 ea 
..ions and incamations.lt may be said with safety that dte 
- -stems have a greater resemblance to one another than either 
has to any of the other religions of the heathen world, 
no reason however for supposing that there is any 
between them,beyond the origin of both in the same 
x mind and character, and the suggestions of the same 

ririt 

r - the close of this account of the demonolatry of the 
B its practices and probable origin,few readers will be able 
j the reflection ; - how different is the religious condition of 
rude tribes from all the ideas we had formed of Hindus and 
sm Notwithstanding the world-wide fame of the Hindu 
Puranas, and Shastras, here is an extensive district in India 
-Jiev are unknown. Here, amongst the Shanars survive the 
a, and Pythons with which the gods did battle in their youth, 
-.^standing the successive prevalence of the Brahmanism o 
e ias, Buddhism and the Brahmanism of the Puranas, the 
.-re of each in turn, and the eagerness of each to make 
.. tes here is a tract of country containing, exclusive of the 
■rranical inhabitants, a population of upwards of 6,00,000 souls, 
Hindus, all belonging to recognized castes, who do not appear 
• - have received any of those religions, and to whom what 
reans call Hinduism is still a foreign creed. None of the sects 
■hich orthodox Sivism is divided can be found here, muc 
„ 3V of the innumerable sects into which Vishnuism has been 
up. Here in polished and metaphysical India we find a 
■ nation but little raised above that of the Negroes, an a 
- - :n which can only be described as fetishism. And what exists 
nnevellv is only a type of the social and religious condition 




39 


e tracts throughout India with which Europeans have not 
become familiar. 

It seems necessary to say any thing more respecting the 
of the Shanars, and of the other castes and classes to which 
liative Christians in Tinnevelly belong; for every thing which 
ptr-cdy speaking , be called their religion has now been 
i In giving an account of their demonolatry, I have 
their scanty creed. A scantier creed or one less adapted 
purpose of a religion, will not easily be found truly, " the 
as shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it, and the 
z narrower than that he can wrap himself in it." But the 
- ess of the creed is not its worse feature. Considered as a 
_ pon God and religion, it furnishes a melancholy subject for 
r.plation to the Christian mind. Whatever be the opinion of 
Lrians respecting the history of demonolatry, Christians cannot 
to pronounce it hellish, both in its origin and in its 
r. It is in truth a hateful, horrid system. God is banished 
his own world and hearts He made. The sun is banished 
the sky and even the hope, that the darkness which now 
ill give place to a brighter sky hereafter, is shut out. 
our Christian reader to realize the position of a heathen 
and learn to be thankful for your privileges. Frame to 
If , if you can, the picture of a godless world - a world in 
± material principles and malignant demons divide the 
icy between them. When afflictions occur , let it be 
Hbacmed that it is malice that strikes and that neither does justice 
:: nor mercy mitigate the blow. Suppose the grand and 
vr.g truths which the Bible reveals reveals respecting the 

the Son, and the Holy Ghost unknown and the light which 
t • ~ is on man's duties and destiny extinct. In the absence of the 
a: emnities and sanctities of the worship of God in Christ, picture 
o vrself the frantic rites with which the heathen Shanar 

rships his devils. The stillness of the night is broken by the din 
-_r.e drum and the harsh bray of the horn announcing the 



40 


cement of a devil-dance in a neighbouring village. Follow 
ihrough the tortuous, prickly -poar lanes, and witness 
per’ ~r.ance from a distance by the help of the flickering torch 
tk rserve in every thing the combination of the ludicrous and 
y - the grotesque insignia of office worn by the 
~: priest, his truculent, devilish stare, the blood bespattered 
?n the temple and altar, the row of boiling pots on one 
: = row of energetic musicians on the other, the 
>us heap of offerings, and the characteristic union of 
an: filth every where visible. Watch the excitement of the 
s z crowd rising higher and higher with every new 
and shriek of the devil dancer, and with the rising 
k of the musical uproar; and hear ever and anon the 
i shout of delight and wild devotion into which the 

crowd breaks out. Then as you turn away from these 
z rgies, contrast with them the worship of God in spirit 
c math, the reasonable service with which Christians worship 
and beneficent Creator through their Mediator's merits, 

~ -.relation of the devil and all his works to which Christ's 
"5 are pledged, the stillness of the Christian Sabbath, the 
f the Church-going bell, the soothing, cheering voice of 
and Prayers, the instructions, the persuasions, the devout 
of the Christian preacher, the healing balm of 
■ ts-institute this comparison and you will not only be 
with the greatness of the difference between Divine 
rp and the worship of devils, but will also be stimulated to 
ery means in your power for the diffusion of the knowledge 
±r*r better way. 

Very little reflection will suffice to convince every 
“at the character of the system of religion, professed by a 
before their conversion to Christianity, must for several 
--dons exert considerable influence on their character as 
I r -' ins. The mass of our converts are Shanars, and were 

■. Waters. Not many years ago demonolatry bore undisputed . 







41 


: amongst the lower classes throughout the province; and 
:zh its influence has been curbed and curtailed by the 
ion of Christianity, it is still the predominant religion in 
parts of Tinnevelly. In those localities where Christianity has 
extensively diffused and received, particularly in the 
I - bourhood of Nazareth, devil-worship has diminished in 

ionate ratio, and even they who remain in heathenism have 
to follow the practice with the regularity and zeal of former 
but where Christians are few and their influence small, 
worship continues to be as popular as ever. Converts from 
lolatry cannot all at once forget, though they may have 
:oned , the system in which they were trained. They will 
essarily bring with them in to the Christian church much of 
materialism, their superstitious fear, and their love of rude 
merits. The mind cannot slough off its old ideas and 
ro-ations in a day. Even in England we still meet with relics of 
ragan usages. Besides, Christianity operates only in so far as it 
jv f d into the heart by faith. The Christianity of the unsanctified 
has no more influence on the conduct than so much 
latics. It is only when religion becomes a passion, or a habit 
^ld things pass away and all things become new. It is surely 
- : be supposed that of the 40,000 souls connected with the 
:ns in Tinnevelly all are Christians in earnest. The public has 
been told that the majority, though converted from 
lism to Christianity, do not appear to have been converted 
sin to God; that the faith of the majority is only an 

lal assent to half -understood truths; and that the number 
r^rsons who appear to be sincerely pious is small. It follows that 
± e majority , or at least in a large proportion of cases, the 
sdtious fear of the old demonolatry must have survived 
sion to the new theology; or at least that the roots of the 
stem remain. We must therefore, in estimating the value of 
,-elly Christianity and the character of the Native Christians 
•jji - - - eir former religion into account, its characteristics and its 
--- ; - - ries , the temptations to which they all necessarily be 






42 


, toough their Old associations, and the mental and moral 

— to he freedom 

: nolaters.lt is cheering P rP 0 f native Christians, where 

d^ose P eculiarWeS 'f to Se “" e produced one,is much superior 
iossion is old enough to P now on rising 

he first. Early Christian training hasta»8 ashamed of 

—« 

tr. aught of practising • imbued large numbers of 

ng it by rationalism, an belief in 

^ wJthat wh^ 

isxzzz. : ~ z :> • 

ss z - -r •* ^r:r: ^ 

and that superstition is visible dy g 
-e thank God and take courage. 





43 


M 7 RAL CONDITION OF THE SHANAR RACE 

Ft tr. the description now given of the religion of the 
not be difficult to form an estimate of its moral 
rfhienee of religion in forming or modifying the 
mat: ons is well known; and the peculiarity of the 
character in all countries and amongst all races is a 
me: conclusive illustration of the fact. Nations are what 
: - Hence, the demonolatry of the Shanars being known 
of god and of a future state, and their isolation 
c - ses, one may safely infer that their moral condition 
|cn low and debased. The absence of the restraining and 
Exruences of Christian truth is,under all circumstances, a 
>%;thing can compensate for ignorance of God. But when 
this negative evil there is the positive calamity of a 
es — a system such as Brahmanism in which the gods 
and immoral, or a system like the Shanar demonolatry 
irv supernatural power that is supposed to take any 
in man is believed to be animated with malignity; — when 
of a people like the former is really, but not avowedly 
the latter, is avowedly, not from heaven but from hell, the 
r ral results cannot but be anticipated; and at the same 
m- 32v expect to find the moral effects of the one system 
ir some particulars from those of the other. 

In considering the moral conditions of the Shanars as 
- their demonolatry, or by the operation of subordinate 
-; . cental light will be thrown on some correlative 
7 easons will probably appear why Christianity has 
: more amongst the Shanars than amongst the higher castes 
hv the Shanars as a class should be less bigotedly 
: to their religion and more easily impressed by Christian 
art d influences than other Hindus; and reasons also why 
ie of character exhibited by the native Christians in 
i’ ll' differs so considerably from that of the Christians of 

B and Madras.lt will also be easier to conjecture what the 




44 


fs work and duty amongst the Shanars must be, and in 
respects immediate success is probable or the reverse; as also 
--mate the degree of influence which converted Shanars are 
to exert upon the higher castes. 

To help the reader to come to a correct conclusion on 
:f these points,I shall now endeavour to illustrate the moral 
of the Shanar religion and the manner in which those results 
r-cxluced; pointing out where they coincide with, and where 
differ from,the results of Brahmanism. 

~£ Shanar demonolatry obliterates the idea of man's accountability 
tr his actions , and consequently fails to exercise any moral 
restraint. 

The Shanars having no idea of God's omniscient presence. 

His government of the world, or of the soul's immortality; 
i r i their demons being supposed to be destitute of a moral 
nature and indifferent to the conduct of their votaries, the 
relief of a retribution hereafter cannot enter into their creed. 

1 - accordance with this is the fact that no Shanars can be 
_nd who anticipates giving account of his conduct to God 
r devil. Hence, except in so far as the fear of the magistrate 
:r the opinion of native society keeps them in check, or in so 
ir as prudential motives stimulate their virtue,they feel 
t e mselves at liberty to do, say, and think any thing they 
r iise,and the majority of them make use of this liberty. 
Ivbatever moral restraint arises from belief in a God above 
_ - :r a judgment before us; whatever influence on the 

- duct or the heart is exerted by hopes of bliss , or fears of 
i ~ in whatever degree the conviction that God's eye is 
sexm us, and that every thought and act is recorded in the 

of His remembrance, produces the wish to please him ; 

- £1 these influences and restraints the Shanars are destitute. 

- Heir calculations the past is past for ever, and the present 
r lenendent of the future. As there will not be any account 



45 


ereafter all is free, allowable, and safe. Who would hesitate 
:: tell a profitable lie or commit a pleasant sin,when,if it 
s - ould become known, there is little or no shame connected 
ith it, and should it remain unknown in this world,it is 
zonsidered certain that it will never be inquired into or 
i sited with punishment in a future state, but will remain 
mknown for ever ? When a temptation is presented to the 
mind and probabilities are hurriedly calculated, this 
: nsideration will generally be found to decide the point; and 
hence, not only are all kinds of friends and immoralities 
: -immitted daily and hourly, but, (and herein consist the chief 
- iference between the Shanars and persons who professed 
s . stem of belief is correct,) they are committed as matters of 
: .■'urse with the coolest complacency and the most perfect 
rreedom from fear. 

The higher castes who adhere to the Brahmanical 
s-stems profess to believe that they will be called to account 
: :>r their actions hereafter, and will be rewarded or punished 
a rcordingly, either by the process of a judgment and a 
sentence , or through the consequences of their actions 
a zcompanying them into the invisible world and determining 
their condition with the force of a natural law and the 
certainty of fate; but as, notwithstanding this professed belief 
they regard their gods with reason as being no better than 
themselves , and therefore likely to be partial in their 
.idgment ; and as the conviction that somehow fate will 
befriend the righteous and abase the wicked is of little force 
in the absence of the sanctions of a Divine revelation from 
heaven ;they are practically as little overawed or morally 
restrained by their belief that the Shanars are by their want 
of a belief. A loose, rationalistic faith in immoral deities is 
quite as inefficacious as demonolatry, or atheism itself. 





46 


nonolatry of the Shanars, equally with the Idolatry of the 
i t castes , disconnects the idea of moral duty from the theory of 
:,s faith and worship. Consequently it fails exercise any moral 
mnt. 

We have so long been accustomed to consider justice, 
iness and truth as enjoined upon us by Divine authority, 
■n d as for making a principal part of the worship and 
wer* ice due to God, that we find it difficult even in theory to 
: sc r nnect morals and religion. It is generally supposed that 
i ■a tever maybe the dogmatic errors of false religions, they 
necessarily, as religions, teach some tolerably correct 
f -tern of morality,in which the principal virtues are 
mmended and the principal less denounced ; and hence, 
that it is better for men to have a false religion than to be 
• r ollv without a religion. This charitable estimate of the 
religions of the heathen is so general that when it is asserted 
that certain religions do not inculcate morality, or are 
r posed to it, Europeans are apt to think the assertion 
- anderous and founded upon a misrepresentation of facts. 

B at, every person who has for some time resided in India on 
rerms of intimacy with Hindus, and who is acquainted with 
their social life and religious ideas, or with any of their 
books of authority, is well aware of the accuracy of the 
rcatement in its reference to Hinduism, and has found himself 
long before he theorized on the subject, able to make the 
necessary distinction. Certainly nothing can be clearer than the 
separation of ethics from all Indian systems of religion, 
whether idolatrous or demonolatrous; and in this particular, 
the moral results of both systems, or rather the absence of 
moral results, would appear to be the same. Though differing 
in other things Brahmanism and Shanarism agree in this, that 
they leave man morally where they found him. 

In reference to the former, proofs of the truth of 
the assertion lie within the reach of the British public, a large 




47 


■ r her of books connected with the Brahmanical system 
L - ? ,in whole or in part, been translated and published, 
i- - an inspection of those books will prove that, with the 
, e exception of alms-giving,which is enjoined,not as a 
P in itself, but on the ground of its efficacy in conferring 
r r-.t and spiritual power, no moral duty is enjoined by 
Hinduism,as on divine authority,or recognized as forming 

but of the code. 

The austerities of orthodox Hindus are purely 

- e ihanical. Their restraint of the mental powers and bodily 
-ergies differs widely from the subjection of the passions by 
moral restraint. Their supreme deity is a mere metaphysical or 
: atheistical abstraction - and algebraic unknown quantity. 

- -eir contemplation of this deity is but an endeavour to 
imprehend existence apart from modes and substance apart 

from qualities. Their self-examination is for the purpose of 
discovering not their progress in virtue, but their progress in 
me persuasion that they themselves are parts of the supreme 
deity - non-existent parts of the great non-existent. Prayer 
.onsists in the recitation of verses of various degrees of 
. intricate merit or magical efficacy; and the object for which 
prayers are recited is not the acquisition of truth, wisdom or 
moral goodness, but the acquisition of supernatural power. 

The connection, too, existing between religious ceremonies 
and merit is precisely that which was supposed to exist 
between the performance of the prescribed incantations and 
the attainment of magical gifts. Lying and licentiousness, pride 
and anger, are not, I will venture to say, forbidden, expressly 



48 


or by implication,in any Hindu religious book; and if self- 
ve appear to be forbidden, a closer examination of the 
: -text will prove that by self-love is meant belief in distinct 
^^'-consciousness of personal identity. It is true that various 
books containing moral precepts are in use amongst the 
Hindus; but it is to be remembered that the moral precepts 
those books contain are totally unconnected with the dogmas 
and sanctions of Hinduism as a religion. The observations I 
rave made respecting the disregard of morals refer, not to the 
ethical Shastras of the Hindus, which form their philosophy 
rot their religion, and with which their religious systems have 
rut few ideas in common,but to the Hindu,books of 
mythology, theosophy, ritual observances, and devotion-the 
strictly Brahmanical books, which profess to teach man s duty 
towards God, and which constitute the religious literature of 
the country. The ethical poems and disquisitions do not 
profess to be divine revelations, or even commentaries on 
divine revelations. To a considerable extent they are accurate 
transcriptions of " the law written upon the heart;" but in so 
far as they are ethically sound , they are irreconcileably 
opposed to the cardinal dogmas of the religious system and 
are consequently despised by religious devotees as secular 
and insipid. For instance, the ethical writers declare that there 
is a difference between right and wrong. The religious writers 
with one voice protest that there is no such difference, and 
that the perception of a difference is of itself a convincing 
proof of man's separation from God. The Hindu moralist 










49 


affirms that " what is done with a virtuous motive is virtue; 
all else is unreal show ." The Hindu religionist enjoins the act 
alone, and affirms that motives have nothing to do with 
merit. The ethical writers urge their readers to do good 
actions and avoid such as are evil. The grand aim of the 
religious writers is to persuade their readers to do nothing. 
Action is inconsistent with contemplation, and the depth of 
contemplation is reached when we cease to think, and cease 
■to know that we are. There are few in these degenerate days 
who have become so sublimely spiritualized, but many may be 
found whose progress towards inanity is highly respectable. In 
consequence of the contrariety of the two systems,the natural 
and the religions , they who follow either consistently exhibit 
what to an European mind must appear strange 
inconsistencies. It is not uncommon to hear a most irreligious 
man commended for integrity and honor, or to hear it said 
of another that he is a religious man, a most devoutly 
religious man, but a great villain. The rewards also which the 
followers of the respective systems expect to receive 
correspond to the genius of the systems. The moral man seeks 
the reward of popular praise or his employer's favour. The 
religious man expects to obtain magical power, to supplant 
some god by superiority in merit, or finally to reach the ne 
plus ultra of Brahmanical happiness, the cessation of separate 
existence - the lapse of individual being into the diving 


monad. 



50 


As in Europe we should dispute the existence of 
any connexion between morality and the Scandinavian 
mythology, or morality and magic, or morality and the " I " 
and the " not I" of German metaphysics ; so in India we 
may search in vain for any connexion between the religion 
of the country and morality. 

This is the state of the case as it regards the 
religion of the higher castes; but the religion of the Shanars 
is equally dissociated from morals, and therefore equally 
incapable of exercising moral restraint. It does not require 
many words to prove that atheism, materialism, and 
demonolatry, whether professed or latent, cannot conduce to 
make men just, merciful, and true; or that, whatever ideas of 
moral duty the followers of such a system may possess, they 
have not acquired them by the help of their religion, but in 
spite of it. Even the Shanars are not destitute of moral ideas. 
Though in a low and debased condition, and destitute of the 
faintest glimmering of religious light, there is not any moral 
duty which they do not in some form recognize as binding 
upon them, or assent to as soon as it is mentioned. But their 
notions of moral duty have not been derived from, or 
confirmed by, the command of their devils, or their example, 
the fear of their anger, or the hope of gaining their favour, 
or the operation of any other motive connected with their 
system of religion. Notwithstanding their knowledge of moral 
obligation in theory, there is no duty which they do not 


51 


habitually disregard and violate in practice: and of all the 
causes that lead to this moral debasement none is more 
influential than the dissociation of their religion, such as it is, 
from their notions of morals. 

No prayers, or gifts are ever offered to their 
devils and Ammens for the acquisition of virtuous habits or 
peaceful tempers. Conscience tells them that they have often 
neglected their duty, and been guilty of many moral offences 
; but no means of any kind are used to atone for those 
offences, because they do not expect to be punished for them 
hereafter; and they cannot suppose that their devils will 
think worse of a man for his resemblance to themselves. The 
demons' anger is not aroused by any theft or lie, or any 
amount of moral guilt, but flares up at an oversight or slight. 
An accustomed offering has been neglected, or the devil's 
authority has avowedly been thrown off, or the votary has 
avowedly been thrown off, or the votary has fallen sick; or 
recovered from sickness ; or it is expected he will be brought 
into trouble through the demon's jealousy, or demoniacal 
malignity is so intense as to show itself irrespective of 
provocations, -- on such occasions and for such reasons; 
sacrifices are freely offered; but no one thinks of sacrificing 
to expiate guilt, to allay the reproaches of his conscience, or 
in the prospect of going with his sins upon his head into 
another state of existence. A man who has committed a 
highway robbery straightway offers sacrifice to the devil to 




52 


prevent him from getting jealous of his success, and bringing 

upon him the terrors of the law. Another seizes on the solitary 

filed of a poor widow, whom he was bound by relationship 

to protect and on taking possession offers a sacrifice to 

secure plentiful crops. Devil-worship is, consequently, not only 

dissociated from morality but perfectly subversive of it. If the 

offering of bloody sacrifices, conveyed to the minds of the 

Shanars any idea of their own demerit or of the necessity of 

expiation, the rite might be productive of moral benefit, but as 

it is founded on the supposition that the demon thirsts for 

their blood through the truculence of his own temper,not on 

account of any offence of theirs, the effect of the rite is only 

to harden them in vice and steel them against mercy." Seeing 

that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, they 

have justly been given over to a reprobate mind;" and even 

the religion which their dark and foolish hearts have adopted 

tends only to sink them deeper in guilt. The corruptions of 

the best things being the worst, their religion is a school of 
immorality. 

3 . In consequence of the absence of the belief that man must render 
an account of his conduct to God and the dissociation of morals 
from religion, conscience has lost its controlling power, innate 
depravity develops itself with fearless freedom, and truth, honor, 
and integrity have well nigh become extinct. 

I have no hesitation in asserting that if there be any vice 
or crime which is not habitually practiced by the Shanars, their 





53 


abstinence from it is not attributable to conscientious scruples 
of any kin, but arises, either from their want of predilection 
for that particular crime or vice, through their intellectual 
dullness or their cowardice, or from prudential regard to the 
authority of human laws. And what I assert of the 
demonolatrous Shanars,from my own acquaintance with their 
social life,holds equally true with reference to the social life 
of the Brahmanical higher castes,with whom I have come in 
contact. In regard to offences against the person, I have no 
doubt but that the natives of this part of India contrast 
favourably with the inhabitants of Europe; in consequence, 
partly, of the intense heat of the climate, which depresses 
their nervous activity and produces indolence, debility, and 
cowardice; and, partly, because the controlling strength of the 
executive Government is much greater in this part of India, 
in comparison with the strength of the individual, than it is 
generally in European states. I grant also that the Hindus are 
generally free from that greatest blot in the moral condition 
of Europeans, the vice of drunkenness; a vice, which Hindus 
suppose,like the eating of beef,to be destructive of caste 
purity, and which, consequently, is held in abhorrence by all 
but the very lowest castes in the agricultural district, and a 
few high caste people residing in the great towns, who have 
learned it from Europeans. It is worthy of remark that the 
Shanars who extract the palmyra juice, which when allowed 
to ferment is the ordinary intoxicating drink of the Hindu 
drunkard, avoid the use of it in its fermented state as 



54 



their case, nor in the case of the Brahmans, do the moral 
evils of the practice form an element in the calculation. 
Notwithstanding these exceptionable abatements, the mass of 
the Hindus, whether idolaters or demonolaters, are beyond 
every other people I know, sunk in moral depravity. This is 
not a fancy, or the opinion of a party,but an obvious, 
unquestionable, and melancholy fact. The Hindus are not the 
only depraved people in the world; but it may be asserted 
with confidence that the extent and universal prevalence of 
their depravity are without a parallel. Where else shall we 
find such indelicacy of feeling, and systematic licentiousness ? 

- the habitual use of such vile, obscene expressions ? - such 
deliberate, placid cruelty in the treatment of inferiors and 
brute animals ? — the commission of such flagrant acts of 
oppression and wrong, as matters of course, where it is 
supposed the injured party is too weak to resist?-such 
intense, all-pervading, over-mastering covetousness ? -such 
ingratitude, selfishness, and perfidy ?-such a preference of 
under-hand trickery to open opposition ? - such cheating and 
pilfering in all mercantile dealings ? such bribery in all legal 
proceedings ? -- such fawning obsequiousness to the great, and 
such haughtiness to the little? But especially where shall we 
find such lying-such habitual lying-such audacious lying - 
such multiform life-long, universal lying, as we meet with in 
India, and which may well be called the national vice ? 

Courts and cutcherries take no cognizance of most of the 



55 


vices and crimes to which I refer, and European officials are 
too much raised above the people to be acquainted in any 
considerable degree with their domestic life and social state. If 
a Hindu is officially subordinate to you, or supposes that he 
can gain any thing by your good opinion,he will appear all 
subserviency and smiles; but let the relative position of the 
parties be changed, and what a change appears in the 
conduct and tone of the meek Hindu ? What trader or 
planter, — what Missionary, — what private individual is there 
, who has resided any length of time of India on terms of 
social intimacy with the people, and is ignorant of the truth 
of these statements ? 

It is not to be supposed that conscience has ceased to 
utter her voice. Notwithstanding the debasement into which 
the people have fallen,they know what is right and what is 
wrong. But, generally speaking, the voice of conscience, though 
heard, is not in the least attended to; and to appeal to a 
Hindu's conscience or sense of honor, in a case in which his 
interest is opposed to yours and he has you in his power, is 
about as useless as an appeal to the good feelings of a 
hungry tiger. 

It is a common saying in Europe that " there is 
honor even amongst thieves;" but in India honor is little 
known even amongst the members of the most influential 
classes ; and such as is found is of that hardy kind which is 
not hurt by duplicity. The Psalmist said " in his haste " that 


56 


" all men were liars," but in India he would have re-uttered 
the assertion deliberately. It is true that amongst Europeans, 
whatever be their nation or persuasion, we shall find persons 
who are destitute of honor and truth, persons who habitually 
disregard the dictates of conscience, and whose hearts are 
seared against compunction. It is quite true also that for every 
vice or crime and every shade of depravity noticed in India, 
something similar or worse may be proved to exist in Europe 
; and hence some persons, Europeans as well as Hindus, are 
ready to argue too hastily that there is no material difference 
between Hindu morals and Europeans. But the difference is 
most material. What passes unnoticed by society in the one 
case, excludes a man from society in the other. What in the 
one case is the rule, in the other case is the exception. For 
instance; — in Europe, persons who act habitually an 
unprincipled or dishonorable part —cheats,liars and 
adulterers, are marked men, shunned by the majority of their 
fellows and outcasts from virtuous society. But in India no 
man is excluded from a social feast or a meeting of the caste 
, or even shunned in private life, on account of any 
immoralities of which he may be guilty. Offenders against 
caste purity are visited with social excommunication. But I 
never met with, and never heard of a case in which Hindu 
offenders against truth and honor were punished in this or 
any other way, or in which known villainy appeared to have 
the smallest effect in lowering a Hindu's social position. 




57 


In Europe, again, in dealing with persons who 
follow dubious occupations or who live by their wits - low 
public house-keepers, itinerant dealers in trinkets, hackney 
coachman, professed gamblers, and such like, you are 
prepared to expect that they will outwit you if they can and 
feel few qualms of conscience respecting their success. But in 
India you meet with open dishonesty, not only in persons 
belonging to similar classes,but amongst all classes alike,— 
landed proprietors, wealthy merchants, candidates for public 
employment, (I say nothing of those who have obtained it) 
literary characters, respected heads of families, — in short, with 
a few rare and marked exceptions, all classes in the 
community from the potent noble down to the starving slave. 
To some extent the wealthy are kept within the bounds of 
ordinary profligacy by their pride or their ambition. If they 
fear being despised for a particular act by their inferiors, or 
wish to appear honorable men in the eyes of those from 
whom they have something to expect, an appeal to their 
honor is sometimes answered by their vanity or their self- 
interest ; either of which in the absence of honor helps them 
to keep up the appearance of it. Hence persons who see them 
rarely are induced to think more favourably of their character 
for integrity than of that of the inferior classes. If however 
there be any intrinsic difference between the higher classes 
and the lower, you more safely believe the slave's word than 
the word of his lord. 


58 


After an intimacy of many years with the people of 
my own neighbourhoodhaving had various dealings with 
many of them during that time ,and knowing, from the 
common talk of the country, the character and many of the 
proceedings of almost every body in the district, the decision 
to which I have been constrained to come is, that the 
wealthy and powerful classes, particularly amongst the 
Shanars, with whom I am best acquainted, are more 
depraved and unprincipled than their poorer neighbours. 

Indeed I do not know one person of the wealthier class who 
has not notoriously been guilty of oppression and violence, of 
frauds or briberies, who does not pride himself on the 
success with which he has crushed his foes by such means, or 
who can safely be believed on his most solemn asseveration, 
in a matter in which his pecuniary interests or the credit of 

his caste are at stake. 

In this statement I do not include the native 
government officials, whose characters are sacred as long as 
they hold office. Their reputation for justice is their fortune, 
and it would be strange if some of them did not prefer clean 
hands and promotion to immediate gain and eventful 

disgrace. 

It is not to be supposed that either the higher 
castes or the lower are destitute of every trace of good 
feeling. God's image, how greatly so ever defaced, has not 
been utterly obliterated in any man. The Hindus as a race are 







59 


more depraved than any other people I know; but neither 
have the Brahmanical idolaters become as vile as their gods 
nor have the Shanar demonolaters become as malicious as 
their fiends. The most vicious are not always pursuing a 


course of vice; nor do the most deceitful lie literally from 
mom till noon, from noon till dewy eve." There is apparent 
in some more frequently, and even in the worst sometimes, 
a kind of negative virtue. No people are more pliable than 
the Hindus, or more respectful when in a good humour, or 
more polite in their behavior to superiors and to strangers; 
and as they are decidedly a light hearted people,fond of 
sales and gossip and amusement, one will sometimes forget 
the darker phase of their character. 


As there are differences amongst individuals, so in 
respect of particular virtues and vices, differences arising from 
religious or caste diversion may be observed. In many things 
I have classed the Shanars and the higher castes together, the 
moral effects of unbelief and misbelief being nearly the same 
yet there are some particulars in which the higher castes 
appear to have the advantage, and others in which the 
advantage is on the side of the Shanars. I shall mention one 
of the most prominent points of difference on each side. 


(1.) The higher castes are taught by their religion to be 
liberal in their charities. 

Almsgiving is the only moral duty expressly taught by 
the Brahmanical religion ; and the credit it deserves on this 



60 


account is not great,for it does not ground the duty of 
almsgiving on compassion, or brotherly love, or our 
obligation to do as we would be done by; but recommends it 
solely on the ground that it confers merit and power over 
the unseen world. Hence, though charity as an opus operatum is 
very common, charity as a sentiment is rarely observed. In 
consequence of this defect in their teaching, the charities of 
the higher castes are ostentatious. They never " do good by 
stealth and blush to find it fame ;" and when about to 
distribute alms, literally " blow a trumpet before themTheir 
charities to private individuals bear no comparison with the 
extent of their public charities - benefits bestowed upon the 
community, such as wells and choultries; or to their religious 
charities -gifts of money and lands to temples, or food to 
devotees. Still, the almsdeeds of the Brahmanical Hindus are 
sufficiently numerous to attract the notice and gain the 
commendations of Europeans , and in this point their practice 
contrasts favourably with that of the Shanars. The Shanar 
demons offer no encouragement to the compassionate and 
charitable , and grudge the bestowal of gifts on any but 
themselves. They have no visions of heavenly worlds with 
which to kindle the imaginations of their votaries, and, not 
having any bliss to bestow on the meritorious, they have not 
taught the existence of merit in almsgiving or in any thing 
else. Consequently the Shanars are charitable only to the extent 
to which Brahmanism has pervaded their demonolatry, or in 
so far as the sentiment of mercy has not been totally 




61 


extinguished,and some germs of natural compassion for the 
poor and the sick still survive. As this degree is minute at 
the best,the charities of the heathen Shanars are minute and 
rare, and certainly cannot for a moment be compared with 

those of the Christian portion of the caste. 

(2.) On the other hand the Shanars contrast favorably with 

the higher castes as regards sincerity. 

The greatest of all obstacles to the spread of Christianity in 
India consists in the practice and love of lying which pervade 
all classes of the people. The tyranny of the sun makes them 
slaves; and" lying," it was long ago remarked," is the vice 
of slaves ." In the case of the Shanars, this evil exists; but it 
exists in a less formidable degree than in the case of the 
followers of the Brahmanical systems. On first acquaintance 
the Shanars may seem as deceitful and dishonest as the rest 
of the Hindus, and their character for sincerity will not bear 
to be tried by an European or Christian standard. But the 
longer I have observed the characteristics of the various 
castes,! have been the more convinced that as regards deceit 
, especially deceit in matters of religion, the Shanars must 
yield the palm to the high castes,and the high castes and all 
castes to the Brahmans. Shanar deception is less habitual and 
systematic than that of their high caste neighbours. Their lies 
are never so natural, so smoothly polished, so neatly dove¬ 
tailed , or uttered with so complacent a smile. They often 
hesitate in a lie and betray confusion, as if they were not 
used to it; and when frightened a little have been known to 









62 


let out the truth. Hence they are cheated by the higher castes 
at every turn; but though they have many dealings in 
common, and some of the Shanars are not destitute of ability, 
I have not heard of a case in which a Shanar succeeded in 
cheating a high caste man. The Shanars have a worse 
reputation for breaking their promises than for downright 
deceit ; and in this case it is their procrastination, their 
indolence, and fickleness which are mainly to blame. 

It is particularly in regard to religion that the one class 
manifests more sincerity or rather less deceit than the other. 

The follower of the Brahmanical system professes to 
believe in 330 millions of gods, but in the majority of cases 
does not care a pin about any of them. He is punctiliously 
attentive to his religion as a system of observances -- as a 
religio , in the primitive meaning of the term. He never forgets 
his ablutions, his holy ashes, or any of the thousand and one 
ceremonies which sanctify his domestic life; but ordinarily he 
has not the smallest iota of belief in the divinities he so 
elaborately worships. He is forward to tell you that he is not 
so dull-witted as to believe that any of them exist; and, if he 
have picked up a little religious philosophy, he will aver that 
nothing really exists. Brahma, Vishnu, Siva are a delusion; 
virtue and vice are a delusion; all is a delusion. It is 
superfluous to point out the consequences of this lying 
rationalism in eradicating sincerity and candour and 
preventing the ingress of the truth. 


63 


The Shanar, on the other hand, worships sincerely the 
demons his frightened fancy has conjured up. He believes and 
trembles. He has seen the grim objects of his worship in 
visions and dreams; or caught glimpses of them in burying- 
grounds , or when passing through the jungle at night. He 
can tell you the place, the time, and all the circumstances of 
every malicious freak of every devil in the neighbourhood; 
and when sickness is abroad there is no mistaking the 
anxiety, the hurry, and the eagerness with which he 
endeavours to appease the demon's anger. It has been proved 
in such cases times innumerable that," all that a man hath 
he will give for his life." So deeply rooted in the Shanar 
mind is this belief in the existence and power of demons that 
, as has been already observed, even after they have become 
Christians many of them continue to dread their old " idols 
of the den." They allow that it is inconsistent with 
Christianity to worship devils, and believe that the great God 
will protect them from their assaults,but they are careful not 
to do any thing needlessly to kindle their ire. It must be 
obvious that the sincerity of the belief entertained by the 
Shanars in their demons, though productive of superstitious 
gloom, and incompatible with a high caste of thought, is 
morally a more promising feature of mind than the conceited 
rationalism or universal scepticism of the Brahmanical higher 
castes, and capable of being turned to better account. It 
explains their comparative freedom from deceit. It acts as a 
counterpoise to their stupidity, timidity , and fickleness; and I 


64 


have no doubt but that it is precisely this feature in their 
character which, more than any other cause, has contributed to 
bring them under Christian influences, when the higher castes 
keep aloof, and makes them the most reverential submissive, 
and easily disciplined of all native Christians. 

Notwithstanding these exceptionable peculiarities of the 
higher castes and the demonolaters respectively, the moral 
depravity by which both are characterized and which 
pervades the whole mass of Hindu society, bears witness to 
the evil consequences of their ignorance of God. " Know 

ftveretore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou 
hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in 
thee, saith the Lord God of Hosts. " The estimate of the 
moral condition of the Hindus, whether idolatrous or 
demonolatrous,whether of high or of low caste,which I have 
now given is gloomy and unpromising in the extreme. But 
beyond question it is an gloomy and unpromising in the 
extreme. But beyond question it is an accurate picture ,and 
one drawn directly and honestly from the life. " The fool has 
the said in his heart there is no God." There is the religion 
of the Hindus. The description of their moral condition 
follows. " They are corrupt, and have done abominable works; 
there is none that doeth good. " Many persons seem to 
consider heathen as unfortunate rather than guilty, and 
regard them with a sort of sentimental, romantic interest. 

They are aware of their religious errors and pity their 
ignorance, but are not fully aware of the extent and 


65 


wilfulness of their moral depravity. Hence they sympathize 
more with the " poor" heathens, than with the honor of God's 
righteous law which,though written upon their hearts,those 
heathens have outraged, and by which they stand condemned 
; and they feel reluctant to assent to the strict accuracy of the 
scriptural statements and the justice of the scriptural 
denunciations of the moral condition of the heathen world in 
the 1 st chapter of the Epistle to the Romans and elsewhere. I 
trust the account I have now given may have the effect in 
some mind of vindicating God's ways to men in His dealings 
with the guilty,and at the same time enable every reader to 
see that the greatest difficulty - the only real difficulty - with 
which Christianity has to contend m India, is a moral rather 


than a religious one. 

It is indeed scarcely possible for those who are not 
personally acquainted with this field of labour to form 
adequate estimate of the moral difficulties which lie in the 
way of the reception of Christianity and the development of 
its fruits. All the principles and habits which form the natural 
character of the Hindus are, as we have seen, opposed to the 
requirements of a holy religion; and all the avenues by which 
convictions of duty and religious impressions gain access to 
the soul are systematically closed. The conscience is seared, 
the will enslaved and palsied, and the whole weight and 
influence of society ranged on the side of evil. Hence, in our 
intercourse with Hindus, whether high castes or Shanars, we 
generally find them not only unwilling to embrace 




66 


Christianity, but unwilling even to take the subject into 
consideration. To listen seriously to the claims of God and the 
evidences of religion pre-supposes the existence of habits of 
reflection and an awakened state of the conscience which are 
rarely found amongst heathens, and which, when they are 
found, appear to be the results of some preparatory work of 
God's providence or grace. But besides this preliminary 
difficulty, suppose Christianity sincerely received, it is obvious 
that the morally depraved condition of the entire mass of 
society must hinder, or greatly retard, the development of the 
Christian character. In Europe the good seed of the word is 
sown in a good soil. In India the climate is pestilential, and 
the soil is yet to be created. Ages of antecedent Christianity 
have prepared the European mind for receiving and 
exhibiting an exact impress of the Truth. Christianity has 
pervaded our laws, and social institutions, our science and 
literature, and national habits. It has given us moral 
sensibilities, habits of self-control, a keen sense of honor, a 
generous enthusiasm in behalf of truth, justice and freedom, 
independence in thought and courage in action, a scorn of 
superstition, and an irrepressible tendency - a passion -in 
favour of improvement and progress. Hence in most cases 
when an European is converted from sin to God, all the 
influences by which he is surrounded are favourable to the 
development of a high Christian character. But how different 
the position in which the Hindu convert to Christianity is 
placed! The principles and habits received by tradition from 





67 


his fathers, his mental structure, all his remembrances and all 
his associations, the precepts of the national religion, the 
peculiarities of the national character, and the influence of the 
family and the caste - all those are directly opposed to his 
growth in piety; and most of those influences are incapable 
of being turned to better account. 

Who that has not had Missionary experience in 
India can form any idea of the depraved moral condition in 
which Christianity finds the Hindus ? What hearts they bring 
with them into the Christian fold ! - what imaginations ! - what 
social evils! - how dull and heavy their eyelids are through 
long sleep ! -- and even after they have been awakened, how 
tenacious the filth and mildew and cobwebs of ages adhere 
to their minds ! In their case a new patch in the old garment 
will not suffice. They require to have every thought and every 
association modelled anew. Nor can it justly be anticipated 
that in a single generation they will rise superior to the evil 
influences in which they were brought up and by which they 
are still surrounded, or make decided proficiency in the 
Christian life. At the utmost we can only expect to see a few 
convalescent amongst a multitude of sick - a few successful 
attempts to emerge from " the horrible pit and the miry clay " 
amidst many failures. 

" ** Revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras. 

Hoc opus, hie labor est. Pauci quos aequus amavit 


68 


Jupiter; aut ordens evexit ad aethera virtus, 
Dis geniti, potuere." 


In the majority of cases it will hold true morally, as it does 
physically, that they who are descended from a sickly stock and 
have themselves been sickly during the period of their youth, 
though they should be removed to a better climate,will continue 
stunted and dwarfed to the end, and never be competent to lead 
the way in any high emprise. Our native Christians suffer for the 
offences of their forefathers, as well as for their own. The diseases 
of the soul are as certainly transmissive as those of the body. The 
Hindu doctrine that the merit or demerit acquired in former births 
determines our fate in this,is but a misapprehension of the 
important truth that our character and condition are to a great 
extent determined by the influences and tendencies, the blessings or 
judgments which we bring into the world with us. We are not 
placed, separately and singly, in the world, as independent monads. 
Every man is a link in a long chain, united in weal and in woe 
with those that preceded and those that follow him. Hence the 
character of a corrupt people is reformed only by degrees, by a 
slow and painful process by the spirit of judgment and by the 
spirit of burning." One generation labours and another generation 
enters into its labours. One step in advance becomes the means of 
advancing another step. Hence also appears the necessity of 
constant progress and persistency in the work in which we have 
embarked. Not only the present, but perhaps several succeeding 
generations of native Christians, must pass away before the 
hereditary influence of heathenism cease to operate, and the mass 
be thoroughly leavened and purified by the principle of a new life. 

Well directed efforts extending through a long series of 
years will change the most deadly climate; and we have reason to 
hope for moral results of a similar nature in our efforts to 
Christianize this people. From time immemorial the idolatrous or 






69 


demonolatrous heathenism of this province of Tinnevelly was a 
vast, pestilential jungle, full of rank vegetation and wild beasts and 
swamps and malaria. For many years only a few trees were cut 
down here and there, and little effect was produced. By and by, the 
number of the labourers increased, the work became more 
systematic, means and appliances adapted to the circumstances were 
introduced; and now the consequences of this benevolent work are 
beginning to appear. Swamps have been drained, large portions of 
the forest have been felled and cleared, and in consequence the 
winds of heaven begin to circulate freely; and, though the malaria 
has not disappeared, its malignity has abated. Still the work is not 
yet done. The work of clearing, draining, and ventilating must 
proceed with undiminished vigour. The portions of primitive jungle 
which yet remain must be cut down. But it is consoling to know 
that if this work continue to progress in the ratio of the past, and 
God vouchsafe the continuance of His blessing, the moral 
atmosphere will soon be entirely changed. The pestilential jungle 
will become a " garden of the Lord," in which " the voice of joy 
and health " only shall be heard. Even now it is unquestionable 
that a marked improvement may be observed. The native 
Christians as a body though not what they should be, or what we 
hope they will be, are, as respects their moral condition greatly 
superior to the heathens. It is not an empty boast to assert that 
that their moral condition is immensely improved. Christians of 
the higher castes are too few to admit of a fair comparison; but 
in the case of the Shanars, the comparison between Christians and 
heathens may easily be made, and the accuracy of it established by 
an extensive induction of facts. If it only be considered that the 
native Christians are placed under a close moral surveillance, that 
they enjoy the benefit of the guidance and control of European 
pastors, and that they are subjected to the exercise of discipline for 
faults which the laws of the country cannot reach, it must appear a 
necessary consequence, irrespective of the influence of the 
instruction and education they obtain, and irrespective also of the 
renewing power of the Gospel when truly received into the heart, 



70 


that they must exhibit in their conduct more integrity and honor, 
more truth and meekness, than their heathen neighbours, who do 
not enjoy the benefit of any moral teaching whatever, and who 
have no man to care for their souls. Would that I could say that 
all the native Christians, or many of them, have made as much 
progress in Christian virtues as they could, and as they ought! But 
amongst a people who had lost the idea of accountability, whose 
ideas of morals were dissociated from their religion, and who were 
, in consequence, totally destitute of honesty and honor, it is to be 
expected that practical Christianity will make at first but slow 
progress. It is necessary that the circumstances of the field in which 
the war is waged, and the character and resources of the enemy, 
should be distinctly known to enable us to form a fair estimate of 
the value of our success. The conversion to Christ of the intelligent 
, the amiable, and those whose minds are not pre-occupied by 
prejudice, will ever be a source of gratification; but it cannot 
appear so decisive a test of the truth of the Christian religion, or 
so conspicuous a triumph over the devil, as the conversion of the 
unprincipled, the fanatical, or the atheistical ,and the establishment 
amongst demonolaters of the principles of the Divine life. 

In describing the religious creed and moral condition of the 
heathen portion of the Shanars and cognate castes, I have 
indirectly afforded materials for estimating both the condition and 
the prospects of the Christian part of the population. It is not 
sufficient for the purpose I have had in view to know that 
Christianity has been introduced amongst the Shanars. We must 
know what existed before the introduction of it, and what they 
who have not embraced it still are, before we can judge accurately 
what kind of Christians a people are likely to become. Besides the 
particulars I have mentioned respecting the religion and moral 
condition of the Shanars, directly considered, there are various 
circumstances connected with their material civilization, and 
peculiarities in their mental character, which exert a modifying 
influence on their condition and prospects. In carrying out my 







71 


object of describing the characteristics of the Tinnevelly Shanars 
and illustrating the facilities and hindrances to their moral and 
religious improvement, it is now necessary to refer to those 
circumstances. 

1. The moral condition of a people is more or less influenced by 
their worldly circumstances ; and the poverty of the Shanars as a 
class is so deep that it cannot but be supposed that their 
condition is considerably affected by it. 

The tract of country in which they live is extremely 
unfavorable to their advancement in material civilization, being 
dry, sandy, and sterile; nor is it capable of much improvement, 
the annual fall of rain, the great fertilizer, amounting on an 
average to only 30 inches. It is true that the soil is well adapted 
for the growth of the palmyra palm; but the profit derived from 
the climbing of the palmyra is extremely small, when compared 
with the amount of labour it involves. The cultivators of it seem 
condemned for ever to hard work and a scanty subsistence, and 
cannot in the most favourable circumstances expect to rise much 
higher in the social scale. A large proportion of the Shanars are 
proprietors of the small patches of ground in which they grow 
the palmyra, and, however hopelessly involved, cling with a 
desperate grasp to the name of landed proprietors; but the 
poverty of the great majority, whether proprietors or hired 
climbers of the trees of others, is quite as deep as that of the 
Pariar and Puller slaves in the rice-growing districts. The Nadans 
are in possessions of extensive tracts of land, besides claiming 
hereditary rights of seignorage over the lands and habitations of 
the rest of the shanars; and hence may, as a class, be 
considered to be in comfortable circumstances. Many of the 
lower branch of the caste who have engaged in trade have 
acquired a similar status. A few of the more wealthy of them, 
perhaps twenty persons in various localities, are said to be 
worth about 1,000 £, -- or according to the value of money to 
them , 6,000 £ ; but the Nadans and wealthy traders form but a 




72 


small proportion of the caste; and the poverty of the mass is 
great and unquestionable. They are rarely in danger of starvation 
, but are never raised more than a few degrees above it. In the 
great majority of cases they are unable to cultivate their lands 
to advantage, to introduce any improvements which require 
expenditure, (even if they were willing to improve, which they 
seldom are,) to embark in trade with a proper amount of capital 
, to build houses fit for civilized people to live in, or to do 
anything to make their children more comfortable than 
themselves. This statement is particularly applicable to the 
Pariars in Tinnevelly, and other castes inferior to the Shanars, 
whom I have included under the name of the latter, and whose 
poverty admits of scarcely any exception. 

Poverty affects the moral condition of a people by 
inducing, especially in an enervating climate, disregard of 
reputation, disinclination for improvement, an unsettled habit of 
mind, and finally fatalism; every one of which consequences of 
poverty is more or less distinctly exemplified in the case of the 
Shanars. Though a portion of the members of the caste are 
raised above poverty, the majority are poor, and the 
characteristics of the majority influence the character of the 
entire body, each acquiring a certain tone of mind from his 
intimacy with the rest. It is necessary to bear this in 
remembrance in estimating the difficulties which lie in the way 
of the hearty reception of Christianity by the Shanars, the 
diffusion of Christian education among them, their moral 
improvement, their social advancement, and their eventual 
sustentation of their own religious institutions. I do not consider 
their poverty an obstacle to their nominal reception of 
Christianity ; for, being less enslaved than the higher castes by 
the pride of race and the pride of life, and to a great extent 
disregarded by the Brahmans, and even by the sectarial Sudra 
priests, as too poor to suit their purpose, their situation must be 
considered as favorable to their reception of Christianity, rather 




73 


than otherwise. But, as must be obvious, it is unfavorable to th 
development of those social and economic benefits and 

Christianity and adhered firmly to their profession of it,th 
worldly circumstances have sensibly improved; and ^ not m 

consequence of any pecuniary help they received. from 
Missionary,but through the operator of moml ca 
through their gradual progress in diligence , their par 
emancipation from the tyranny of customs an 
acquirement of habits of economy and forethoug . 

2. There are circumstances in the temporal conditions of the Shanars 

which, as engendering a litigious spirit, produce an injurious effect on 

their moral condition. 

The litigiousness of theShanars attracts the notice of 
strangers on their arrival in Tinnevelly, and is genera y 

s-r- £=" “r" “■* 

of the time of the elders of every considera e vi g 

howevMvmy decided conviction - ^ 

amongst the Shanars is not so much the result or a y 
tendency as of circumstances in their condition whichi are 
capable of being obviated,or greatly modified ,and hat 
moral evils arising from the habit are not msuperab . 

In ordinary affairs the Shanars do not seem to be 
more tenacious of their rights, jealous of encroac men ,o 

l,,,*, ,b». tod. «»t ®« ttog..bl. wto 





74 


litigiousness; and I am convinced that the blame is mainly to 
be imputed to the baneful operation of the Hindu law of 
inheritance amongst an illiterate people. 

In other parts of India the castes and classes, 
corresponding to the Shanars in social rank, are either tenant 
farmers or farm servants. But the Shanars of Tinnevelly, though, 
as a class, poor , uneducated, and in a low state of civilization, 
can boast that, with few exceptions, they are proprietors of land. 

The Nadans, the descendants of the original lords of 
the soil, are a numerous class, and still retain the larger portion of 
the land in their own possession; but as there is not, and never 
was, any obstacle to their mortgaging or selling their lands to 
others, (their rights of seignorage alone being considered 
inalienable,) most of the actual cultivators, originally the renters or 
servants of the Nadans, have in process of time become proprietors 
of the pieces of land they cultivate and the trees they climb. The 
lands which have thus come into the possession of nearly every 
Shanar family have been minutely, it might almost be said 
,infinitesimally, divided by the operation of the Hindu law of 
inheritance. In accordance with this law the father's property, 
whether real or personal, is divided equally amongst his sons; and 
if the family estate be considerable, every daughter receives a field 
or two as a marriage portion. The eldest son receives no more than 
the youngest ; though not unfrequently he manages to appropriate 
an additional portion, whilst acting as administrator to the estate 
during the minority of his brothers. 

As there are no manufactures, and but little local and 
no foreign trade, and as every handicraft is monopolized by the 
caste of artificers, there is nothing to induce any Shanar voluntarily 
to abandon agriculture and seek some other means of support. 

Every one lives on the produce of his lands ; and a 
proportionate share of the property and its produce is the only 
means of livelihood he transmits to any of his children. Property is 




75 


thus more and more sub-divided, until it ceases to be able to 
support the impoverished owner, and he is obliged, as a as 
resource against starvation, to sell his portion, if an umncumbere 
portion remain; or his relatives, exemplary friends m need a 
advantage of the opportunity and dispossess him of his lands by 

general combination. 

The whole proprietary class, through the operation of this 
comminuting process, would long ere this have sunk into the 
deepest poverty and misery, had it not been that population has 
for ages ceased to increase, and that the more powerful 
systematically encroach upon the property of the weaker, and 
compel them to migrate or work for hire. 

In most cases the sons of the original owner agree to 
preserve the family estate undivided, for the sake of the advantage 
of associated labor; and as long as this arrangement continues the 
portion which falls to each of the share-holders is a portion not o 
the soil, but of the produce. A division is generally insisted upon in 
the time of the grand-children, if not before. Under the most 
favorable circumstances every one is obliged to e upon 
to secure his own share of every crop; and in most cases , the 
encroachments and retaliations , the feuds and jealousies whic 
occur from time to time, and the total want of honesty and 
principle which every partner in turn evinces, compe t e 
interference either of the heads of the village as arbitrators, or of 
the Sircar as preserver of the peace. Every succeeding generation 
aggravates the existing confusion of rights, and the estate becomes 
ere long a battlefield of conflicting interests. 

An" undivided Hindu estate," as it is technically called 
in the possession of a divided family, may be described as a joint 
stock company in which all the share-holders alike are directors, 
secretaries,and treasurers,and in which it is the undisguised 
endeavour of each partner to appropriate the common pro 1 
charge upon the company his private liabilities. 



76 


In any country and amongst any class an association like 
this would be productive of evil. It will not be difficult to imagine 
what the result must be amongst a demonolatrous, semi-civilized 
people, destitute alike of legal knowledge and of moral principle. 

In the second or third generation, the share-holders, unable any 
longer to bear the troubles and broils incident to their partnership, 
determine to effect a division of the estate, with a definition of the 
boundaries of each person's share. But such a division is more 
easily determined upon than effected; and the attempt invariably 
converts domestic feuds into open war. 

One has sold his proprietary rights,and yet insists on 
obtaining a share in the division of the remainder. Another by 
private trade, or superior industry, has added a few fields to his 
ancestral portion, and is naturally annoyed when called upon to 
surrender them for equal division. The father of a third party 
mortgaged half his share; the son of the mortgagee is ready to 
swear that the mortgage was a sale; and neither party has any 
document to produce in confirmation of his statement. One person 
has mortgaged his portion over and over again ; and the 
mortgagees are at war amongst themselves without any prospect o 
a settlement. Two of the partners have effected a pretended sale of 
the entire property, without the consent or knowledge of the rest; 
and the rest have retaliated by selling the portion belonging to the 
two to a powerful neighbour. In this complicated position of things 
, the conflicting parties agree to refer their case to the arbitration o 
a punchayat, or village council of five, who have been appointed to 
settle disputes by the general voice of the neighbourhood; a course 
which is generally preferred to a reference to the courts, as being 
both less expensive and more likely to elicit the facts of the whole 
case and lead to an equitable decision. Possession being considered 
by the village arbitrators, as by most lawyers, of more importance 
than abstract rights; the greater number of the documents 
connected with the dispute having been lost , destroyed, found to 
be ambiguously drawn up, or alleged to be forgeries; not one of a 



77 


the sales,mortgages, &c.,having which Y the village 

cutcherry ; and the testimony o g ' favora ble or adverse 

punchayats mainly rely,being S^ Q ; l h ; r or the other; it is 
according to their connection £ovmd ed 

but seldom that the decision of the endea vor to effect 

absolutely upon the merits. More com subordinate points by 

a compromise between the p ”* 6 of his statement,or 

calling upon each litigant to' swe when compromise of 

to cast lots whose each portion* appens that the soil is 
this kind is made an agree , ^ be plante d in the 

acquired by one, the tt66S ™ 1C houses that have been or may be 

Ht upL b l rlThirT- an arrangement in which will be 
pervaded many a loop-hole for future contention. 

Amongst Shanars it not 

person concerned “ upon some clever rogue who acts 

able to read or write. A P and it has 0 ften been 

as secretary and registrar: to e sub ' eque ntly referred to, a few 
known that,when the decis inser ted Qr omitted to 

important words were found to have 
favor one of the parties. 

The settlement in 

court of arbitrators is . moves to be only a 

received justice , an legally binding, he 

tod, or friends. tho d—»" " ' J‘ lo , dbk seinme of 

M-lf H disputes ™ to 

what he considers to be h g appeal is made to 

revived , the litigation commences afresh and an pp 

the council of arbitrators in another villag . 



78 


All the time these feuds have been carried on, the entire 
estate has stood registered in the Sircar revenue accounts as the 
property of the great grandfather, who by a kind of legal fiction is 
still alive. He is personated by a descendant of his eldest son,who 
has, ex-officio, received the common ancestor's name, ( the Tamil 
for grandson is " namesake,") and who to save trouble and keep 
the estate undivided has acted as agent for his relatives in the 
payment of the land tax, and in keeping custody of a few scraps 
and shreds of " the mother title-deed." This person, perhaps the 
prodigal of the family in his youth, is now the most needy; and 
some day new light is thrown upon the case by his appearance 
before the police with one of his long, pendant ears slit, and a 
profusion of red-ochre and saffron wounds all over his body. He 
complains that he was in peaceable possession of certain lands , ( 
as he can prove by Sircar Puttahs and receipts for the land-tax 
which he has brought with him,) up to the previous day, when he 
has assaulted, driven out of his field, his ears slit, and the produce 
of his fields carried off by a band of his enemies; and therewith 
he prays for protection for the future as occupant and possessor. 
His hired witnesses agree in their testimony; the village 
accountant's good offices have prudently been retained; his receipts 
and Puttahs , and the entry of his name in the registry as 
responsible for the entire land-tax, are accepted as proofs of the 
fact that he has been in possession; and the result not 
unfrequently is that the police authorities by a summary decision 
put him in possession of the whole estate, in their capacity of 
preservers of the peace, and inform the rest of the annoyed share¬ 
holders that they may have their remedy by a reference to the 
civil courts. 

Here commences a new and more public course of 
litigation, which may eventually be more definite in its results, but 
is not general more equitable, and is always more tedious, 
expensive, and harassing, than the proceedings of the local 
arbitrators. 






79 


When all the shareholders in a landed estate, are, as the 
Shanars generally are,illiterate,destitute of principle,and on the 
verge of pauperism, the Hindu law of progressive sub-division 
must inevitably produce a harvest of feuds and litigations; and 
even in cases which occasionally occur,in which a number of the 
ltigants are peaceable and honestly disposed people, the 
circumstances in which they are placed, and their total want of 

lirBein n v and w reth0Ught ' PlUnSe th6m ^ Hti S ati ° n *eir 

• Being unable to read or write, they have always been 
accustomed to give their word instead of their bond, and to 
consider the one as good as the other; and when a neighbour 
offers a similar security, so long as he talks plausibly, they see no 
ger m accepting it. They forget that men's minds sometimes 
change with their circumstances, and that they ought to be 
prepared for the hostility of those who are now their friends They 
should at least take care to provide documentary evidence for the 
protection and guidance of their children, in the event of the 
children of their neighbour looking upon the transaction in a 
1 erent light. But these ideas are too transcendental to enter the 

to'hust h U T red Shanar PeaSant EV ^ ° ne WaS —turned 
hls neighbour s word, without taking the precaution of 

obtaining even his mark; or, having,no idea of the value of 

w °“r r hen a dispute Was n0t g0ing ° n ' he had aIlowe d the 
mieht on Y at UP T ^ V ° UCherS Ws father left Arsons 

tanslt the U b r ° f PrOC6dUre 38 th6Se 3 handi -^or 
■ but , meSS 3 Petty ^de' without much inconvenience 

' Y Wh6n pr W in la " d * at stake, want of intelligence and 
prudence on the part of the joint proprietors, and a course of 

interminable divisions and sub-divisions must inevitably produce 

confusion and every evil work. That persons of so humble and 

onlnTta a T- ^ Sh3narS Sh ° Uld S ° generaUy be P r °P™^s 

of land ,s a peculiarity which is not elsewhere met with,and one 
which lies at the foundation of the litigiousness complained of The 

the fields they possess or not. They know that they ha^e many 


80 


rival litigants; but they know also that they are in possession, as 
their fathers were, and this knowledge satisfies their conscience. 

To such an extent are all rights enveloped in confusion 
that I do not know of a single case in my own neighbourhood in 
which the possession of a field is undisputed; and in buying land 
for church-building, or other Missionary purposes, I have generally 
considered it safest to deal with the possessor de facto , whoever he 
may be, and ask no questions for conscience' sake. In a few cases, 
for additional security, I have paid the full purchase money to two 
parties, and if at any time I have gone out of my way to inquire 
who was of right to be considered the owner of the field, the only 
result has been the discovery of a long succession of feuds and 
frauds running back beyond the memory of man. 

The remedy for this state of things must be sought in 
an alteration of the Hindu law of subdivision, — a result which 
cannot reasonably be anticipated ; or, better still, in the diffusion of 
education and of those habits of prudence and forethought which 
all education, but especially that which is connected with moral 
and religious training, is found to promote. The latter remedy is 
now being vigorously applied; and I have no doubt but that in 
another generation or two the litigiousness of the Shanars will 
cease to be proverbial. Amongst those who are still heathens all 
rights continue to be uncertain and unsettled. Every thing may be 
contested by every body. But where Christian education has been in 
operation for a number of years, disputes have sensibly diminished 
, councils of arbitration have acquired juster views and greater 
influence; and in the various arrangements that are now made 
respecting the disposal of real property less and less room is left 
for subsequent litigation. The law of inheritance remains unaltered, 
but the increased enlightenment of the people renders its operation 
less baneful to the public peace; and when conversion from 
heathenism occur, though disputes are brought into the Christian 
community, it is to effect a settlement of them. 



81 


The increased price which palmyra sugar now brings in 
consequence of the establishment of sugar refineries in Cuddalore, 
and the influx of money into the country through the opening for 
profitable labor presented to the poor by the cultivation of Coffee in 
Ceylon, together with the establishment of so many Mission stations 
and the erection of so many Bungalows and Churches throughout 
the province, have improved the condition of not a few of the 
poorer classes of the Shanars, and enabled them to redeem portions 
of their encumbered property. But the advantage springing from 
this source is but temporary; and it is much to be wished that 
local manufacturers of some kind could be introduced, and that 
the raising of scanty crops on sterile sands, and the climbing of 
the palmyra ceased to be the sole stay and support of the entire 
people. So long as they have only the produce of their lands to 
depend upon, the law of inheritance remaining as it is, the sub¬ 
division of property cannot be effectually arrested by merely moral 
motives; and one cause of litigation will be found to survive. 

It were superfluous to attempt to point out the 
prejudicial influence of a litigious spirit on the moral condition and 
religious prospects of the people amongst whom it exists. It is 
sufficient to state the degree in which it operates. 

3. The languor and apathy produced by the heat of the climate 
exert considerable influence upon the condition of the Shanars , 
morally, socially , and intellectually. 

Religion, civil institutions, and social habits are pre¬ 
eminently influential in the formation of national character; 
but climate and its correlative material influences exert a 
modifying effect. Whatever excites nervous energy develops 
a spirit of ambition, courage, and endurance; and 
whatever diminishes nervous sensibility and depresses the 
vital powers induces apathy, timidity, indolent contentment, 
and a disinclination to change. The influence of climate on 
the vital energy being confessedly great, its influences on 


82 


the social and moral well-being of a people, though 
indirect , must also be considerable; and hence,in 
endeavouring to form a correct estimate of the condition 
and prospects of a people, peculiarities of climate and their 
results cannot be left out of the account. Though the soil 
be of a similar nature to what is found to exist elsewhere, 
its productiveness is affected by excess or deficiency of 
rain or heat. In like manner, whilst moral influences are 
every where the same in themselves, their strengths , 
developments, and products are more or less proportionate 
to the degree in which physical energy and mental vitality 

are found to exist. 

The climate of Tinnevelly is one of the most 
equable,but one of the hottest and dryest mIndia; the 
annual range of the thermometer being less than 20 
degrees ; and the heat for nine months in the year 
continuously , day and night, being upwards of 80 degrees. 
Whatever be the effects of such a climate, the Shanars are 
exposed to them in all their intensity. During the hottest 
part of the year, from March to September, the principal 
occupation of the men is that of climbing the palmyra,a 
tall mast-like palm,with only a few fan-shaped leaves at 
the top. The object of this laborious task is to obtain the 
juice which flows from the bruised flower-stalk of the tree, 
and which is collected, as it drops, in little pots tied to 
the stalk. This task they are obliged to ply during the 
greater part of ever y day, in the full blaze of a vertical 
sun. The women are at the same time engaged in boiling 
down the sweet juice into a coarse sugar,in a temporary 
hut in the vicinity of the trees; and though they have the 
protection of a roof, this advantage is neutralized by the 
heat and smoke connected with their work. The more 
wealthy, being able to hire assistants, are not so much 
exposed to the sun; but the daily labor of the vast majority 




83 


is that which I have described; and unquestionably it is a 
more exhausting and stupifying species of labor than any 
other performed within the tropics. It will readily be 
supposed that exposure to the unmitigated force of so fiery 
a climate, combined with such incessant toil, must have the 
effect of depressing nervous energy and drying up the 
springs of mental vitality. And if in the majority of cases 
the result be a state of lethargy and apathy, as it must be 
confessed it is, a charitable mind cannot but consider tins 
result as rather the misfortune of the Shanars than their 
fault But whether it be a fault or a misfortune, its 
consequences,as regards their social and moral condition, 
are such as must be lamented. Whatever advantages arise 
from strength of will, or strength of emotion - from the 
ambition which desires, or the courage which dares to exce 
- from earnest zeal, or tender sentiment, or resolute 
persistance; of these advantages, and they are neither few 
nor insignificant,the inhabitants of the tropics in general 
enjoy but few, and the portion which falls to the lot of 
the Shanars is literally less than nothing, the entire 
tendency of their character being in the opposite direction. 
In the majority of cases the result is not simply apathy, or 
dull contentment,but downright indolence; a feature 
which may truly be considered the most prominent in the 
character of the Shanars, as deceit is the most prominen 
in the character of the higher castes. There cannot be a 
stronger proof of the depth of their apathy than their 
conduct towards their sick relatives. In at least half of the 
cholera cases amongst the Shanars which I have attende , 
I have been obliged to employ a trusty servant to keep 
watch in the houses of the sick, having found by 
experience that the majority of the people will allow their 
own children to die in agonies rather than be at the 
trouble of keeping awake for a single night to give 
medicine at the appointed times. Having grown with their 


84 


growth and strengthened with their strength, their 
indolence shows itself in every thing they say or do; in 
their work, their walk, their look, and even their 
amusements; in their youth as well as in old age; in their 
vices as well as in their virtues. It represses their anger, it 
mollifies their litigiousness, and is a drag even upon their 
avarice. It takes off the wheels of their ambition, it twines 
itself round their rising energies and crushes them in its 
folds, it turns every endeavour to improve their condition 
into folly; and should they become conscious of its evil 
effects, and wish to shake it off , the wish itself vanishes 
before it can ripen into an act of will. As a stream of 
water in descending a mountain's side infallibly discovers 
and follows the path in which least difficulty lies, so the vis 
inertiae of a Shanar's indolence infallibly teaches him where 
the minimum of difficulty may be found - the easiest way 
to take every event, and the easiest way to get through 
every work. Why should he attempt to overcome a 
difficulty, when it is so much easier to go round it ? Why 
should he struggle through the world, when to slide 
through it is the custom of his caste ? 

Of the long train of evil consequences produced 
by their habitual indolence, one of the worst is the slavish homage 
it induces them to pay to custom. The supremacy of custom 
amongst all castes in India, high or low, is generally attributed to 
a prejudice in favor of the wisdom of their ancestors. They are 
supposed to regard former ages with extravagant reverence, and on 
this account to give the authority of law to every traditionary 
notion and old usage. But observation has convinced me that their 
subjection to the tyranny of custom is not the result of any 
intellectual bias, but is simply a form of indolence, and a result of 
the intense heat and enervating influence of the climate. To plan 
and forecast and provide for contingencies; to exert themselves 
more than the necessity of the moment demands; to dig beneath 






85 


the surface into the reason of things; to endeavour to reach a 
higher position than their forefathers; or to seek after any thing 
not ready made to their hands; - these are tasks which the 
languor and laziness produced by the heat of the chmate teach 
them to dislike. It is not any intellectual prejudice but the love 
ease produced by their languor, which has taught them their 

“”«!=. a ■*. «*.; -a «■* *» *»“* Z 

thing new,simply because novelty is troublesome,and they 
want to bo bothcvcd . 

Even when one of them has by any chance adopted a new 
course of procedure in any thing, the same habit of mind shows 
itself in his reluctance to mollify his practice at any subseque 
time - 'not that he always considers his original course the best in 
itself', but that “in this hot weather “he cannot bear the trouble o 

changing. 

The same regard for custom is found to influence 
Europeans who have been a long time resident in this coun y, 

L” especially ,h* i*.—■> * “T . 

an " old Indian " in any new direction, as it is to move 

; and neither is much less difficult than to move a mountain. 

Through the subjection of the Shanars to the tyranny of 
custom, it is difficult beyond conception to effect any improvemen 
even in their temporal condition. Though they love their money 
much they love their ease still more; and if a propose 
undertaking be in the least at variance with their accustomed 
routine or likely to be attended with any risk or trouble, howeve 
promising it may be in itself, it has no charms >nthen eyes, ey 

cannot bear to make experiments , or calculate probabdities o 

advantage; they cannot bear the trouble of thinking. And if m the 
advantag , y however trivial, 

undertaking proposed to them,there De a y p 

which requires to be determined by experience he doubt an 

anxiety involved in such a case are too dreadful for them to 
encounter.lt is their custom to idle away half their time,to 



86 


their work in a clumsy, wasteful manner, to be contented with the 
trade and position of life with which their forefathers were content 
, to be always in debt, and to live from hand to mouth; and 
though it is easy to convince them of the propriety of abandoning 
such customs, or rather of adopting better customs in their room,( 
for without customs of some kind they cannot live,) it is a very 
different and much more difficult thing to induce them to act 
upon their convictions. They will not hesitate to make promises of 
improvement; -" we'll do so and so to-morrow;" we'll commence 
to do it by degrees ;" or, more doubtfully still," we'll do it when 
we get wisdom;" but in nine cases out of ten their only object in 
saying so is to induce you to leave them to themselves. 

It is a curious circumstance that whilst the indolence of 
the Shanars is such a hindrance to their improvement, it has been 
productive of at least one good effect,by keeping in check the 
sanguinary tendency of their demonolatry. It might be expected that 
their conduct would be marked by the cruelty and blood which 
characterize their worship; but the heat of the climate has 
mollified the acerbity of their tendencies and deprived them of the 

courage to be ferocious. 

The indolence of the Shanars being to a great extent the 
result of circumstances external to the will, and being to that 
extent connatural and constant in its operation, it is useless to 
argue with it; for even when you have produced conviction, you 
have not advanced a single step nearer obtaining your purpose. 

You may batter down the strongest stone wall; but what effect 
will your battering train produce upon a bank of earth? The thick 
mud walls which Hindus cast up round their town, and which, 
though they look so contemptible, prove so excellent a defence,are 
but types of the manner in which the same Hindus defend, their 
creed against arguments and their social system from the troubles 
and perils of improvement. Active resistance might tend to unsettle 
their minds, but the passive resistance of sleepy unconcern is as 
safe a defence as it is effective. 


87 


There are other causes, besides the influence of climate from 
which apathy arises; and sometimes, as in the Turkish empire, 
where the climate is fitted to develope mental energy,its influence 
is neutralized by the over-mastering strength of religious prejudices. 
But where the climate is unfavorable to energy, and directly 
productive of bodily and mental languor, what can save the people 
from yielding themselves up to indolence ? I know of only one 
thing that can save them; and that is the diffusion of Christianity 
amongst them, with its moral excitements, its conflicts and 
encouragements, its education of the youthful mind, and its gifts of 
Grace. In the case of the heathen Shanars, no such influence 
counteractive to that of the climate exists. They have no principle 
within,or motive from without,or communication of life from 
above, to arouse their minds; and hence their indolence, and the 
moral and social evils consequent upon it, seem incapable of 
mitigation so long as they remain heathens. 

In those of them who have been converted to 
Christianity other influences are beginning to operate and impel 
them into a state of progress. But for one or two generations to 
come it cannot be expected that either their physical or mental 
energies will thoroughly be roused. Christianity must root itself in 
their affections ; what they know intellectually they must learn to 
believe in and appropriate ; they must be trained to activity and 
energy from their earliest years; and, withal, it may not be left to 
their option whether they will abandon their hereditary indolence 
and endeavour to improve themselves, or not. Christianity is a 
complex idea, including, or appropriating, all influences that 
conduce to man's well-being in this life and the next; and those 
influences each in its turn must be brought to bear upon their 
drowsy minds. They must be shamed out of their apathy, and urged 
forward in the road to improvement. Mere doctrinal teaching is not 
sufficient to meet the exigencies of the case, nor the use of merely 
moral persuasion. If we would save them from themselves, the 
pedantry of adherence to the strict letter of European systems and 


88 


scholastic precedents cannot be retained. We must deal with them, 
not as professors, but as pastors and fathers, adapting our 
measures and motives to the circumstances of each case, with the 
patience of wisdom and the authority of love. 

From this peculiar necessity of meeting and overcoming 
the indolence of the people have arisen the " plans " to which 
Missionaries so often refer,-plans which vary so much with the 
place, the time , and the circumstances, and which are so often 
reviewed and recast, and their effectiveness scanned with so much 
anxiety. Whatever be the immediate object of the Missionary s 
plans, whether they relate to the management of the schools, or to 
the congregations — to the control of the native teachers, or to the 
social improvement of the people, it may safely be said that they 
all aim at the accomplishment of one and the same object. All are 
intended to meet, master, and rout out the monster vice of 
indolence. Amongst a people free from this vice, our plans would 
be simple indeed; and our time would not be interrupted by 
employments which are uncongenial — I will not say to our work, 
for of that they form an important part —but uncongenial to our 
tastes and unconducive to our own edification. 

We cannot expect that the Shanars will ever acquire the 
energy and fire of the inhabitants of colder and more favoured 
climes. But there is so much mental excitement involved in the 
sincere reception of Christianity, the powers of the soul receive 
such a stimulus from the new , magnificent, and affecting ideas 
which Christianity reveals, that although the physical tendency to 
indolence should remain,the awakened mind,lit up by the energy 
of a new life, may be expected to acquire the will and the ability 
to bring the physical tendency under control. Even in cases m 
which Christianity is only received with a mechanical faith, the 
punctuality , order, and obedience which the members of the 
congregation are taught, from the time of their profession of 
Christianity, and the exercise of the mental powers, the habits of 
discipline, and the spirit of emulation in which the Christian 


89 


children are trained, cannot but produce ere long a considerable 
effect. Still we must not be so sanguine as to anticipate any great 
social change for some time to come. A whole tribe will not move 
rapidly; and the larger portion of the Shanars has not yet begun to 
move. 

4. The intellectual dullness of the Shanars seriously affects their 
moral condition and prospects. 

The statements I have made respecting their hereditary 
poverty and indolence and the degree in which physical 
causes tend to aggravate and perpetuate those evils, must 
have prepared the reader to form a low estimate of their 
mental capacity and augur unfavorably of their desire to 
cultivate and improve such powers as they have. 

Such anticipations are in accordance with facts, 
the Shanars as a class being perhaps the least intellectual to be 
found in India. Where Christianity has not been introduced, the 
great majority of the people are not only unable to read,but 
unwilling to learn or to allow their children to learn. The only 
persons who know one letter from another belong to the class of 
Nadan land-owners -- men of property and substance, whose 
pecuniary interests would suffer if at least one of the family were 
not able to sign his name and keep notes of his accounts. Even 
amongst persons of this class not more than one in ten is found to 
have acquired this ability; and hence it is a common practice 
amongst the Nadans to club together and employ a high caste 
man as their accountant. Amongst the other and greatly more 
numerous class of Shanars, which comprises the majority of the 
small proprietors and traders, and to which the climbers of the 
palmyra exclusively belong, I have not met with or heard of any 
individual remaining in heathenism who had learned to read. If 
such a person were any where met with, it would probably appear 
on inquiry that he had been a pupil in a Mission school in his 
youth, and had kept up his reading through the silent influence of 




90 


the example of his Christian neighbours. As it was not thought 
expedient, or even allowable, for women to learn, I have not heard 
even a tradition that any woman before the introduction of 
Christian education ever learned to read. Even the majority of the 
musicians who sing at devil-dances, the wandering minstrels who 
make verses at weddings in praise of all who pay them, and at 
least half the native physicians, are unable to read the verses they 

make or recite. 

In these remarks I refer to the heathen portion of the 
Shanars; but as the great majority of the members of the caste are 
still heathens, and as Christianity has but recently been introduced, 
the intellectual condition of the Christians must necessarily 
correspond to that of the heathens in a greater or less degree. The 
totally uneducated condition of the mass of the Shanars is partly a 
consequence of their intellectual dullness,but it is also one of the 
most operative causes of that dullness. Languor indisposes to 
exertion, and the cessation of exertion increases languor. When this 
cause is viewed in connection with its correlates, we shall be able 
to account for the mental torpidity of this people. Let it be 
remembered that the exercise of the mental faculties by persons 
who are unable to read is a most difficult and fatiguing task,for 
which the indolent have less liking than for any other kind of 
exertion; that the climate and the occupations in which most of 
the Shanars are engaged are directly productive of indolent torpor 
both of body and mind; that all the faculties, whether physical or 
mental, with which human nature has been endowed, as they are 
strengthened by exercise so they become drowsy and feeble 
through disuse; that intellectual development depends so much 
upon organization, and is consequently to so great an extent 
hereditary, that on an average children resemble their parents as 
much in their mental capacity, in their tendencies and tempers, 
and in the degree in which ideas call up emotions, as they do in 
their features and their bodily constitution; that the mental 
characteristics which the Shanars or any other caste may exemplify 




91 


in one generation cannot be modified in succeeding generations, as 
in other countries they would be, by the intermixture of the 
characteristics of any other caste, class, or climate, but are 
perpetuated by the influence of caste restrictions and the practice 
of intermarriage amongst near relatives; that every caste,being cut 
off from intimacy with every other caste,its character can be 
changed, if changed at all, only ab intra by a change in its 
circumstances,or by the operation of a new class of moral causes; 
and that, apart from the introduction of Christianity an t e 
establishment of Christian schools, no change in the circumstances 
of the Shanars, or merely moral motive, can be efficacious enough 
to awaken their minds, or induce them to take even the first step 
towards intellectual improvement by learning to read:— let these 
things be taken into account, and the reader will readily 
understand how deep and general, and, except it be remove y 
Christianity, how hopeless must be the mental torpor of so poor, 
so indolent,and so caste-ridden a people.In the operation of the 
ordinary laws of nature no other result could be anticipated. A few 
persons may be found who are exceptions to the general rule an 
manifest a fair amount of intellectual acuteness, but such exceptions 
are few indeed, and the general characteristics of the class are 
strongly marked and proverbial. 

Persons who have had an opportunity of comparing the 
Shanars with the emancipated slaves in the West India Islands 
think the Negroes superior to the Shanars in intellect, energy, an 
vivacity; and this opinion receives confirmation from the well 
known superiority of the Negroes to lower classes of the Hindus in 
every department of manual labour followed in the colonies, and 
the proportion generally found to exist between the physical 
energy of a race and its capacity for mental development. When 
compared with other Hindu tribes, the comparison is equally 
unfavourable to the Shanars. I am not acquainted with the 
intellectual capacity of the predial slaves on the western coast, or 
one of the wild hill-people; but of the castes found in the Carnatic 







92 


down to the very lowest in the social scale, I am confident that 
none can be compared with the Shanars for dullness of 
apprehension and confusion of ideas. In this assertion I refer 
distinctively to the Shanars themselves, not to the castes which I 
have sometimes included under their predominating name; for the 
Pariars, and even the castes inferior to the Pariars, having in their 
daily business more intimacy with the higher castes than the 
Shanars have, their intellects have been sharpened, and even their 
expressions and pronunciation are more accurate. 

The intellectual condition of the native Christians of 
the Shanar caste, though in some degree modified by their 
Christianity, is lower than most Europeans can conceive to be 
possible. The difficulty we meet with in teaching the members of 
our congregations who are unable to read, (the vast majority as 
yet,) to commit to memory one short passage of Scripture every 
week, even if we relieve them from the still sorer task of 
endeavouring to understand it; and more especially the difficulty 
we find in making the majority of our Catechists and 
Schoolmasters, though the choicest intellectuals in their caste, 
comprehend the plainest doctrinal principles, trace the connexion of 
the links in the simple chain of reasoning, or draw the most 
obvious inferences from facts; — these convey practically to all who 
are engaged in Missionary labours amongst the Shanars a 
melancholy idea of the intellectual dullness of the class. Even in the 
case of the most intelligent and studious natives we have in 
connexion with the Mission, ( I speak of the Missions of the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,) irrespective of their 
weakness of character as compared with Europeans, which is a 
separate consideration and a very distressing one, I do not know 
of a single individual who really appears able to think for himself 
on any point of Christian doctrine, or scriptural interpretation, or 
on any social question; and they who appear to best advantage at 
our annual examinations of the Mission agents are those whose 
memories are most retentive of the explanations, the illustrations, 


93 


and the very expressions that have been dictated to them by their 
Missionaries. If this be the condition of the most intellectual class, 
how torpid must be the minds of the majority! and how far is it 
necessary for them to rise above their present condition before they 
can understand the reasons of the Christian faith, or apply its 
teaching to the direction of their lives with discriminate 
conscientiousness ,or propagate it with an unbidden zeal springing 
up in the convictions of their own minds! 


The dullness of intellect by which the majority of the 
Shanars are characterized has unquestionably a prejudicial effect on 
their moral condition and religious prospects. In the first instance, 
it tends to deter many of them from embracing Christianity. If the 
Christian religion, like the religious systems of the heathen world 
were a mechanical routine of ceremonies, or a blind belief in local 
legends,it would be possible to embrace it without intellectual 
exertion. But as it is pre-eminently a system of principles, and as 
even its facts are intended to be didactive, it must be understood 
to be available for the purposes for which it was revealed; and 
hence, its teachers must necessarily endeavour in the first place to 
make their hearers understand it, and then to impress its truths 
upon their hearts and initiate them into its spirit. The moment a 
Shanar becomes a Christian he is required to apply his mind to 
the comprehension of a new set of ideas; and, being perfectly 
illiterate, it is found necessary for him to begin by committing to 
memory portions of Catechisms and passages of Scripture, without 
which it were in vain to expect him to comprehend abstractions. 
This is a new kind of employment, and a most wearisome one, to 
people who knew that they had hands and mouths, but had no 
suspicion that they had minds. Yet, if they would become 
Christians, they cannot escape from this dire mental toil; for no 
Missionary will allow any man /woman , or child to be called a 
Christian who does not endeavour in some shape to understand 
what Christianity is. The diffusion of Christianity involving 






94 


systematic instruction, and instruction being distasteful to persons 
of feeble intellect, Christianity, in the estimation of the Shanars, is a 
difficult, literary religion. The name by which Christians are 
commonly called is " learners." A man is said " to commence to 
learn," when he becomes a Christian ; and when he relapses into 
heathenism “ to refuse to learn." Even in the language used by the 
Missionaries, when people embrace Christianity they are not 
ordinarily called " converts," or " proselytes," but are said to have 
" placed themselves under Christian instruction." Now the aspect 
under which Christianity appears in this peculiar state of things is 
by no means an attractive one to the Shanar mind; and the labour 
and trouble which they know their dullness will entail upon them, 
in the event of their becoming Christians, are a serious obstacle in 
the way of their conversion, which it requires some strength of 
conviction, or impulse from without, to enable them to overcome. 

The characteristics of a people mentally and morally 
may be illustrated by the tenor of their objections to Christianity. 
For instance, in Madras, where most of the people are educated, 
and where religious controversy and strife prevail to a great extent 
, the most popular objections to Christianity are rationalistic, or 
virtually atheistic. In the interior, on the other hand, the objections 
of high caste Hindus are generally founded on their pride and 
secularity. "If they embrace Christianity, they will become unclean 
in the eyes of their caste, their social consequence will be lowered, 
they will be cast off by their relatives and lose their livelihood, 
their private conduct will be subjected to supervision, they will be 
required to bring their wives to Church, and their daughters must 
attend school. " Of these objections to the reception of Christianity 
the last only is common to the more wealthy Shanars and the 
higher castes. I have not at any time heard a Shanar bring forward 
rationalistic objections; and question whether he could use such 
objections if we wished. Generally also, conversion to Christianity 
is found to raise rather than lower him in the social scale. The 
objections and excuses which the Shanars are accustomed to bring 





( 


95 

forward are peculiar to themselves, and are excellent illustrations 
of their character, their mental calibre, and their social condition. 
Thus a Shanar will say: - " I shall become a Christian when the 
rest of the people of the village come. How can I learn alone;" or, 
- " I shall become a Christian when God wills, when He gives me 
wisdom, or tells me in a dream that I must learn; " or, - " if I 
become a Christian , the devil will kill me; my neighbour who 
began to learn last year lost an eye before two months were over, 
and if he had not gone back in time he would have been a dead 
man ere now; " or, — " if I become a Christian, farewell to dances 
and festivals and caste customs ; farewell to the dear, delicious 
uproar of tom-toms and horns, at weddings and funerals;" or, - " 
if I join the congregation, I shall not be allowed to work on 
Sundays; every little accidental fault will be strictly enquired into, 
and I shall be expected to give money to a great many Societies; 
"or, as a last defence, from which they think nothing can drive 
them, if I become a Christian I shall have to learn a great deal; 
morning and evening, the gong or drum will be calling me to 
Church, and if I don't come often you will be vexed; and the 
Catechist will always be running after me to teach me something 
or other. I am a poor, stupid man and don't understand any thing. 
Why should I take so much trouble about any thing that is not 
eatable or wearable ? You say if I become a Christian if will be 
well for me after I die; but who has seen heaven ? who has seen 
hell ? " It is the Shanar idea, not that their religion is true, but 
that it is good enough for them. " Christianity, though a very 
noble religion, is not suitable for hard working stupid people such 
as they are,who always go to sleep when their work is over and 
are not accustomed to think." They never venture to suppose that 
it is not a true religion, or not a good one abstractly. 
Unsophisticated Shanars would reckon it the height of impudence 
for any one to say that the religion of the white gentleman - 
judges, magistrates, and missionaries, besides the Governor General 
and the Queen - is not a true religion. But its truth is like the 
truth of mathematics, very puzzling and very profitable to poor 



96 


people - a species of truth which it is not necessary for them to 
know." As it is necessary for the village accountant to understand 
the extraction of square-roots, and the astrologer to know in what 
asterism the moon is, so it is necessary for Europeans to 
understand Christianity. Without it how could they administer 
justice as they do ? How could they be gentlemen ? But it is not 
necessary that Shanars should be discontented with their humble 
faith.lt serves them to keep the devils in check and that is all they 
want." Having no idea of God's government of the world, of 
rewards and punishments in a future state, or of the necessity of 
an atonement of their sins, they do not comprehend that 
Christianity is as necessary for them as for us, and that when the 
poor or illiterate reject it, they reject that which alone can make 
them, not only wise, but rich, and greedy for ever. 

As the intellectual dullness of the Shanars is practically 
an obstacle to their reception of Christianity, so after they have 
become Christians it is a serious hindrance to their progress m the 
Christian life. In proportion as the power of apprehension is weak 
the sphere in which religious acts is contracted, its influence is 
diminished, and the development of its fruits is checked. Growth 
in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is an 
essential condition of growth in Grace. Grace is not a material, 
influence, but a concomitant of the truth; and where the mind s 
utmost efforts scarcely enable it to grasp the first principles of the 
oracles of God, it will generally be found that Christian piety has 
not advanced beyond first principles. The spirit of wisdom and 
understanding is as necessary a gift of Grace as the spirit of God s 
holy fear; and they who do not or cannot add to their virtue 
knowledge will be sore hindered in running the race that is set 
before them. Hence, the intellectual deficiencies of the Shanars affect 
unfavorably their religious prospects; and without denying the 
operation of other causes, those deficiencies alone would suffice to 
account for much of the disparity apparent between their 
advancement in Christianity and that of the Christian converts in 



97 


primitive times. We read that the Apostles were often resisted and 
often despised, and that their teaching was often misrepresented 
through the hostility of the enemies of the truth; but we do not 
read that their teaching was ever unintelligible through,the 
stupidity of their hearers alone. Viewed simply as compositions, the 
wonderful Epistles they wrote were not above the mental 
comprehension of the persons to whom they were addressed. On 
the contrary, texts and arguments were often cursorily alluded to, 
which the readers were expected to adduce and apply for 
themselves. On this ground, in some degree, the effects produced in 
the first ages by the preaching of Christianity as compared with 
the effects it now produces in Tinnevelly and in other portions of 
heathendom may be accounted for. Irrespective of the Jews to 
whom the Apostles preached, and their antecedent preparation for 
the reception of the Truth, how great a disparity is apparent, as 
regards intellectual preparation, between the heathens of Greece 
and Rome and our Tinnevelly Shanars, or indeed any heathens 
now to be found ! Where shall we now meet with heathens so 
intellectual, so emotional, so aesthetic, so eager in the pursuit of 
truth, so capable of being impressed with the beauty, awed by the 
grandeur or melted by the sweetness of God's voice in His word. 
Why! their Christianity seems to have known no infancy whatever, 
but all at once they were born men in Christ. Surely we cannot 
expect any thing similar in the first generation, or even the second, 
of Christian Shanars. We cannot justly expect that a statue of clay 
or gypsum shall have the strength or the beauty, the durability or 
the polish of one of Carrara marble, though the design, the 
proportions, and the general effect be the same. Christianity does 
not alter men's minds prior to the reception of it. It cannot be 
responsible for the condition in which it finds them. But it is 
gratifying to know that , whatever be that condition, it improves 
and elevates it by sanctifying it. " The entrance of God's word 
giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple;" and this is the 
ground of the hope we entertain in the poor Shanar's behalf. 






98 


Let no one suppose from any thing that has been said 
that Christianity is beyond the reach of the Shanar's intellect of 
that of any human being. They are capable of ^derstandmg ^ 
essential truths when unartificially and popuar y s a _ 
capable of believing what they know, and practicing what y 
believe and loving what they practise. As far as I can ju ge 
appearances, the most consistently pious Christian in my district is 
a person who cannot read. Knowing little else, he appears to now 
he oX true God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent; and there 
are not a few in Tinnevelly who like him find the most necessary 

truths the clearest." Believe on the Lord JesusChrist and ^ thou shah 

be saved ;" - this germ of Christian doctrine is as 
Shanars as to us.On the other hand,the logical de ^°P^° 
this germ in the Epistle to the Romans - the explanation of the 
principles of the connexion subsisting between faith and salva on, 
and indeed all explanations of grounds and reasons, are beyond h 
comprehension ofXe majority of them. A mere statement of f c 

ft, mod »i «- «* T “"ft* 

- ”" d 11 ■JZi.. 

pmbodv " Milk " is thus provided for babes , 

Xt for them that are of full age." And hence when we find a 
people who, like the Shanars, are children in understan mg, 

well to remember that out of the mouths of ^ hlldren ^ h 
perfected praise; that with the rudiments of knowledge He 
confer the rudiments of saving grace; and that it is not th 
amount of a mads gifts, but the use he makes of them,not die 

number of talents committed to him,but the propor 

« e «„d, hi„ ft hi, lord.Sail,it hold, ™ ft*! 

who have received ten talents and gained other ten will s an , 
absolutely at least,in a higher position than they who hav 

“od’,.0 ,hd g«d Oft., five ~ To ftft t 

given;" and this is God's rule both in Nature and 
European Christians, we have reason to thank Go 01 ma "- 
» good and perfect gifts » of special love; but the Shanks have 
also reason to thank Him for His merciful condescension 







99 


low estate. He condescended to the lowly, when He assumed man’s 
nature, and He still condescends to the lowly when He makes the 
faintest glimpse of divine knowledge and " faith like a grain of 
mustard seed " available for a Shanar's salvation. 

It is gratifying to perceive the efficacy of Christian 
education in improving the mental as well as the moral condition 
of the Shanars. Though even the educated are very deficient in 
intelligence, yet it is unquestionable that there is a marked contrast 
in many particulars between them and the uneducated. I do not 
mean, and no person of reflection will suppose, that all the 
educated youth are necessarily superior to all their uneducated 
seniors in integrity of character, in the desire of improvement or 
even in real mental enlightenment. In the majority of cases however 
their superiority is immense, as regards their power of 
comprehension and their power of expression, their ability to 
follow the service with intelligence and understand sermons, and 
their perception of the force of arguments and persuasions. Their 
education, such as it is, has given us access to their minds; and 
hence its value, when compared with the total ignorance of the 
majority and their consequent unimpressibility, is incalculably great. 
And if we do not see all the results we look for now we shall, by 
God's blessing, see them hereafter. 

If it were our main object to make the pupils in our 
schools logical reasoners,we might give up the task in despair. 

We can teach every branch of study more successfully than the art 
of thinking. But the grand object of education we give is rather a 
moral than an intellectual one. Others may aim at the heart 
through the intellect; we aim at the intellect through the heart. We 
hope, it is true, to awaken their thinking powers; but this hope is 
subordinate to, and included in, our hope of leading their souls to 
Christ. In many cases, especially in our seminaries and boarding 
schools, the pupils are acquainted not only with the letter,but, to 
some extent, with the spirit of God's word. Their hands are 
furnished with weapons, and their young minds trained for the 






100 


spiritual conflict. Nothing now is required but faith to enable them 
to rise and conquer; and " faith is the gift of God. 

Suppose this apparatus of Christian teaching and training 
continued in operation for at least another generation ; suppose 
a supposition which will probably soon be realized -- the entire 
mass of the native Christians in Tinnevelly, men and women , with 
few or rare exceptions, able to read God s word, and a large 
proportion of them persons who had been trained in our boarding 
schools, and consequently accustomed to attention and reflection, to 
observation and deduction - accustomed to act on higher principles 
than the rue of the caste and custom; suppose also that a goodly 
number of these have added " to virtue godliness," and spiritual to 
intellectual life; and who can calculate the degree in which it may 
please God to raise this entire race, mentally as well as morally ? 

5. There is another peculiarity in the Shanar mind which may 
briefly be noticed as influencing their moral condition and 
prospects, especially with respect to their reception of Christianity. 

Partly through their indolent submission to custom, and 
partly through their inability to think for themselves, and their 
timidity, their habits of mind are " gregarious " beyond those of 
any people I know. Solitary individuals amongst them rarely adopt 
any new opinion, or any new course of procedure. They follow the 
multitude to do evil, and they follow the multitude to do good. 
They think in herds. Hence individuals and single families rarely 
are found to relinquish heathenism and join the Christian Church. 
They wait till favourable circumstances influence the minds of their 
relatives or neighbours; and then they come in a body. In like 
manner, if through any cause a new learner should wish to return 
to heathenism, he generally waits till he can succeed in engaging 
on his side the sympathies of a portion of the congregation. 

When single individuals or families embrace Christianity, 
their apostasy is of comparatively rare occurrence; as in the very 
fact of their acting on their own convictions, without waiting for 





101 


,ud2 7 7 e Pr0Ved themselves p0ssessed of “ independent 
n r f "r/Tf ° f WiILThiS 8re ^ ious disposition appears 

difficuitt t ; mai ° rity ° £ 4116 “• * is -onceLb.y 
“ T^ mdlVidUalS t0 ‘ ake a -ngle unaccustomed step 

alone. But when a movement has commenced, very little effort is 

required to induce them to join in it and swim w! the sZ a m In 

general they join it of their own accord, and would feel lonely and 
helpless if left behind. 7 and 


It is now time to bring to a close this sketch of the 

description I T m ° raI and P ros P ects of the Shanars. The 

espedalv of ** T" ^ general cha "s«cs of the class, 

the English T ei "° n ° atry and lts consequences, will enable 

of tteli " t0 ' erably Mea ° fthe condition 

he heathens and the prospects of Christianity in Tinnevelly The 

sure ITU 3 gl ° 0mier ° ne tha " WaS antid P ated J but I am 
sure that .t is an impartial, faithful, truthful one. And if the 

devil 'and h' " ^ ‘ 0 de6Pen “ “ y mind ite abh °rrence of the 
devil and his works,or excite it to more compassionate love and 

ore generous exertion in behalf of souls which Christ died to 

save, and which are perishing for lack of knowledge, one great end 
I have had m view will be gained. 8 

It IS always satisfactory to know what it is with which 
we are contending; what are its powers and resources; and what 

in Tin" ' S ™ ^ be antici P ated - !t has been our lot 

foes ■ andlt 7 d'ff^T fr ° m ““ exa SS erations °f both friends and 
foes, and it is difficult,perhaps impossible, to refute the one 

without appearing to give a triumph to the other. I hope I have 

done better than refute either by furnishing facts and stating 

prmciples for the guidance of the Christian enquirer. I have neither 

attacked nor defended.lt has been my desire neither to black! the 

picture by prejudice, nor to * say smooth things and prophecy 

celts. I have endeavoured to illustrate the nature of the 




102 


superstitions and moral evils which Christianity has to supplant in 
this province, the characteristics and capacity of the classes with 
whom,we have to deal,the facilities and hindrances to the 
progress of Christianity which are involved in the circumstances of 
the people, and the nature of the trials or encouragements with 
which the Missionaries meet. It cannot do harm to throw light on 
the condition of the people whom we are endeavouring to 
c istiamze. The exclusion of romantic sentiment may prevent 
disappointment hereafter,and will,I trust,have the effect of 
rousing to our aid principles of infinitely greater strength, 
urability, and value. I confess that in the picture I have drawn 
ere seems to me nothing which is likely to interest the merely 
natural mind. The wise man, the scribe, the disputor of this world 
, the political economist, the merchant, the seeker after the 
picturesque , would find nothing suitable to their purposes amongst 
the Shanars. Worldly men seeking to accomplish their worldly 
objects,or aiming at benevolent objects in a worldly spirit, would 
a andon so degraded a people to their fate. But they who "know 
he Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He were rich, yet 
for our sakes became poor,that we through His poverty might be 
made rich, will not - cannot act so merciless a part. 

Difficulties in Christ's cause,and in the cause of man's 
welfare should only serve to kindle zeal. The more debasing the 
superstitions the more depraved the morals,the deeper the 
poverty and indolence and stupidity of the people whom we wish 
to christianize,as the difficulties increase,so should our 
determination to meet and master the difficulties rise higher and 

and the^T 8 3 ^ AH ' mighty as our Lea der and Commander, 
he truths we endeavour to diffuse being a sufficient remedy 

for all the evils of society in every clime, why should we doubt of 

a victorious result? He maketh His strength "perfect in weakness; 

and never is this more manifest than when " the weak things of 

he world and the things that are despised "are the objects of our 

a ors of love. If there be any who think the Shanars beneath their 





103 


depraved to b^Zorth^IvlnT ^ ^ raising ' to ° 

.1 ' whomsoever thev mav hp t 

sure they are not like fnri t u , . , y may be Ilke - 1 am 

=« 

Shanars, or he^eTcl" I ^ Zt^ ^ ** 

*e pit whence te^''Sh^' ^ ^ * 

are now a settled a n pa ui hanars were, as they 

ancestors were fc t rX ' a “ indUSW0US 

and had not that grace* whichif- ** ' ” Wanderin S rob bers; 

notwithstanding their hieh or nngeth Salvati ° n arrested »«", 
the race might have rel 7 " o£ Ornate, 

Lord's grace aione X has" T** ‘° ^ is 

the same grace elevate the sLnaX Thef^h"' ^ Sh ° Uldn0t 

r, 

*• «—'Zzzzsi.rzr,- 

ifr tr * - , 

raised the Angles the Tutes h c’ m mmd and m heart, as it 
change from the worship of Her*, u. f he 

of the Lord from heaven h a ^ ^ e&rth ~ t0 the wors hip 
not similar results to produc&Tbv ttre^ h mighl r moults, why may 

»*• "»“r •< -»- o™ „4^s r”“ p ”* 

o r - ZTi °'- 

Muen^On'theTnlXX a ^ aren ‘ ly , inaccessible ‘o Christian 

and peculiarly accessible. WiZufpXf Xiftout ' 

religious re* ; sacred ..d„. m; ™ 





104 


. ,u a t aversion to Christianity as a foreign 
recollections ; wi*o ^ ^ obstacle to their 

religion which oth They have always 

'r,r 

been found more willing to e guided , controlled, and 

have embraced it more willing g number 

moulded by its principles, than chr istian 

of this one caste that have p ac conver ts in India, in 

instruction is greater than that of all . a wide 

connexion with all Protestant isaions. . mongst them; 

- r — - 1 **” ■” ,h * 

and that Gospe is J ^ pro fessedly, the religion of 

same sense m which it , Y ls in Tinnevelly 

the people of England^ Alrea Missionary Society and the 

alone, in connection wi , and about 20,000 souls in 

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Society, 

South Travancore, in connexion wi^Lon^ ^ ^ 

have abandoned the demono y detected in the 

fathers. It is true that serious defects ^colrts - defects 

character and temper of most o be the defects 

which Christianity must remove , for India,a 

which mingle with their profession,! Y should have 

remarkable thing that so large a number o this^a ^ ^ 

embraced Christianity. Should we not confer 

. , n , Providence to occupy and cultivate runy 
specie! caH of Providen ^ ^ ^ ^ our aid is besought . 

peculiar sphere .It men and women, calling 

Thousands upon thousands g we are called , 

themselves by the same holy name ^ w ^ bec ome worthy of that 

invite us to " come over and help tnem 

name. 


The Shanars of ^ ^od they 

=r,::.=rrr„ 




105 


no disloyalty , have ever been laid to their charge. Though taxed, 
like all Hindus, under all successive Governments, beyond their 
ability, more submissive tax-payers are no where to be met with in 
the world. They gladly allow that the feeling of security, and the 
certainty of obtaining justice when they have an European to 
appeal to, are an ample compensation for the weight of taxation 
imposed upon them. Now if our nation has profited by their 
temporal things; " - if of the 30 lakhs of Rupees, or thereabouts, 
collected as revenue in Tinnevelly, by far the larger portion has 
year after year been sent out of the Province, for the advantage of 
European officials and proprietors of India stock, or as a 
contribution towards the expense of the military government of 
less submissive races, is it reasonable that they should receive at 
our hands educational advantages and " spiritual good things " in 
exchange. Notwithstanding their poverty they are not thought too 
poor to be taxed; notwithstanding their stupidity and debasement 
they are not thought unworthy of the benefits of English rule; 
why then should they not be thought equally worthy of the light 
of knowledge and the blessings of Religion ? Though it is not 
expected or desired that the Government should teach them 
Christianity, it might justly be expected that it should teach them 
to read and write, -- that it should endeavour to raise them in 
intelligence, or at least in material civilization. But our well- 
meaning Christian Government has done infinitely less for the 
improvement of the condition of its subjects in any respect, 
whether intellectually or socially, or even materially, than it could 
do, and was bound to do. It has ever been well content to " sit at 
the receipt of custom," and commit to private benevolence the 
duty of promoting the welfare of the people. It appoints, on an 
average, only one European Magistrate for the administration of 
justice amongst 2,00,000 souls; one Engineer Officer for the 
construction of public works (that is, works directly conducive to 
the increase of the revenue) for every 8,00,000 souls ; and for the 
millions upon millions of souls forming the population of the 
Madras Presidency, exclusive of the city of Madras itself, not one 


106 


schoolmaster -not even one. It punishes the subjects when they 
violate the law, but not a Rupee does it expend in teaching the 
masses of the agricultural populace to read and understand the 
law. It considers it its duty, or finds it conducive to its interests, to 
give a superior education to a few of its own officials; but the 
Shanars and the rest of the laboring classes are too low in the 
scale of caste importance to be thought worthy of Government 
employment, and therefore too low to expect to receive any 
instruction from the Government. Hence, except European 
Christians , moved by compassion and Christian charity, extend to 
them the benefits of Christianity, and of religious and secular 
education, it is not likely that they will ever be taught a single 
letter. * 

In pleading for the continuance and increase of Christian 
effort in behalf of the Shanars ,1 do not desire that any efforts to 
educate and evangelize the higher castes and the inhabitants of the 
large towns should cease. Nor indeed is there any need to fear that 
those classes will be neglected; for the schools of the Scottish 
Missions, established for the benefit of those classes alone, have 
always excited a larger degree of public interest than any other 
department of Missionary labor. It is certainly natural and proper 
that those excellent Institutions should receive special sympathy 
and support. The influential position and the superior intelligence 
of the class to which the pupils belong; their thirst for knowledge 
and aptness to learn, their 

* It must however be mentioned in connection with the above 
statement that the Tanjore Mission receives a monthly 
allowance of Rs. 350 in support of Protestant Schools. A grant 
for this purpose was originally made to Schwartz who 
rendered eminent services to the Government , and was 
increased on the petition of the late Mr. Kohlhoff to the 
present amount ; the Court of Directors being satisfied, to 
quote their own letter " that the conduct and spirit of the 
Tanjore Mission had proved beneficial to the natives and 

















107 


tended to conciliate them to our Government. "At Madura 
also a Catechist has for some time past been paid by 
Government, though on the death or removal of the present 
incumbent of the office the allowance is to cease. In strict 
accuracy it is right to mention these facts of which our 
friend the author was not aware , though they scarcely affect 
his statement.— EDITOR (of original version). 


vivacity and bright looks; the communication of instruction in 
English enabling English visitors to take a personal interest in the 
tuition; and the high gifts and singleness of mind for which the 
teachers are so remarkablethose throw a halo of interest round 
such institutions which cannot be expected in favor of equally 
necessary, but less brilliant efforts, in behalf of black, dull country 
children, and their blacker, duller parents. The more pleasing the 
path of duty can be made, and the more the eye, and the ear, and 
the imagination can be enlisted on its side, the greater number will 
be found to patronize it. So far all is well. But whilst this 
department of Christian duty is attended to, I plead that our 
endeavours to evangelize the Shanars and Agricultural classes 
should not be allowed to relax. Shall works of charity be done 
only in the sunshine ? shall exclusion from grace be the 
punishment of having dull eyes and hard hands ? It is said " open 
thy mouth for the dumb;" and I but fulfil this command by 
pleading in behalf of the Shanars that the voice of their necessities 
, their preparedness for Christianity, and their readiness to receive 
it, be listened to. I plead that the hundreds in the Presidencies 
should not intercept from the tens of thousands in the country 
their just share of educational and religious advantages; that whilst 
Government employees are well cared for, the producers of the 
country's food should not be abandoned to their fate. Should 
Christianity confine herself to large towns ? Should the pagani be 
condemned to be pagans for ever ? Have not the Shanars and 
Pariars and the rest of the labouring classes souls to be saved, or 



108 


lost, as well as the wealthy ? It is the glory of Christianity that out 
of weakness she is made strong, and that she chooses " the weak 
things of the world, and the things that are despised, yea and 
things that are not, to bring to nought things that are." Let us not 
then " mind high things, but condescend to men of low estate ; 

" remembering the words of the Lord Jesus: - go into all the 
world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. " 

It is an error also to suppose that any change in the 
opinions of a few of the wealthy, intellectual inhabitants of the 
Presidency and the other great towns is likely to influence the 
minds of the country poor, hundreds of miles off. Opinions do not 
circulate amongst the Hindus so readily or so rapidly as in 
England. Sometimes a mere report will take half a year to travel 
from the Presidency to Cape Comorin. Opinions also do not as in 
England extend equably from class to class, but only circulate with 
a gyratory motion within the caste in which they originated. 
Ordinarily the enlightenment and evangelization of one class 
produces scarcely any perceptible effect upon others. It is the custom 
for every caste and class to have prejudices and practices of its 
own; and it is not the custom for any caste or class to imitate or 
borrow from its neighbours. Consequently every caste , or at least 
every circle of castes, must be made the object of special Christian 
effort. The high castes in the towns cannot be reached but by the 
instrumentality of superior English schools. Consequently, those 
schools foim a part, and an essential one, of the entire apparatus 
of Indian Missions. The Shanars, and the agricultural classes 
generally, cannot be reached but by a parochial system of village 
congregations and village schools, such as has been established and 
is in operation in Tinnevelly. I plead therefore that this department 
of Missionary labor be considered as equally important, and 
supported, in proportion to the number of the stations and the 
extent of the area occupied, with an equal measure of zeal. 

Our hope of the elevation of these tribes must solely 
depend upon the extension and enlargement of our own Missions. 



109 


m TiraieVe% f ° r ^ 3 

of Paraver >«* *« «*• caste 

of Romanism is unfavourable to improvement 
introducing the elements of education among" XavieTs * 
has not yet been commenced and not ° gS ‘ XaVIerS averts 

‘he New Testament has been hanslated into T am d d” ^ 

hundred years that have elanced • mi durm S the threi 

'*0 the satisfaction of Ivl'canTd “ ™ bu ‘ ^ved 

/and morals the Romanist Hind mc l UIrer ' that in intellect,habits 
in the smallest degree Every ne 7°‘ ^ ^ *** Athens 
the difference between the Ronu ° ^ Informat ion is aware of 

intellectuaUdealized p ^ e m Ro r • ^ ^ ^ and 

Romanism found in ndi s i n ^ B “‘ the 

Italian and Portuguese ^ 

national character a mnm v i m Frenc h,from whose 

have been expected have foi /*% ^ reformin g s Phit might 

introduce practical reforms, amongst the USageS '° r 
they expelled the Portuguese priests. The gI '! 8atlons hom wh ich 
endeavouring to raise th P w a re nch Jesuits, instead of 

their's , They have adopted notTnly ^d^ l6Vel ' haVe SUnk to 
of life, but even the caste nm a- Y ress / manners, and mode 

people they came to ZlZ T" ^ PrediIeCti ° nS ° f 
them the attachment of the Hi cT ^ gained for 

respect. How can they r e" '' Ut “ ^ f ° rfeited ^ir 

civilization to their oL PerS ° nS Wh ° ^ fr ° m a hi 8 h 

^ should teitro^rrrr ; id who copy wL 

neither establish schools ■ ’ ou d command; who 

with performing masses and held adu,tS/but content themselves 

consequence of these thinvs Ro § Pr ° CeSSi0nS by t0rch - ,ight? ^ 

parts, is powerful only for the maniSm,as ach ially existing in these 

converts om a ° f evibIt "takes no 

themselves as a he« a^v ^* hea *«" 

genius of Protestantism,the intensTmSnd'^ ^ Pr0greSSiVe 

intense, unbending nationality of the 






110 


Anglo-Saxons, whether English or Americans, preserve them from 

so degrading a course ; and in consequence, whether as colonists, 

or as teachers of religion, they prove themselves infinitely more 

efficient than the flexible French, or the retrograde Portuguese and 
Italians. 

The only Protestant Missions established inTinnevelly are 
those of the Church Missionary Society and the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel - Societies work harmoniously for the 

accomplishment of a common end; each in its own circle of 
districts. 

The Missions of the latter Society comprise six districts, 
with a Christian population of about 10,000 souls; each district 
having its circuit of village congregations, its boarding and day 
schools , its Catechists, Readers, and Schoolmasters, and its resident 
Missionary Clergyman; and the whole provided with a central 
Seminary for the training up of an efficient native agency 
Unquestionably this is a noble apparatus of Christian benevolence, 
whk.. deserves to be maintained in efficiency; and notwithstanding 
tic peculiar hindrances and discouragements with which the work 
is besot, its results are such as not only to warrant but to call for 
its extension and enlargement. 

God grant that we never halt in this worthy enterprize 
till our efforts be rewarded with complete success - till the 
evangelization of this entire race of idolaters and demonolaters 
become one of the "many crowns " which encircle the Redeemer's 
brow. And what is required for the accomplishment of this object, 
but 'he continuance and extension of the apparatus already 
emg'oyed , and which has already produced such encouraging fruits 
, wi i me continuance of the blessing of the most High God ? Let 
ther be an increase in the number of laborers connected with this 
and its sister Society proportionate to the greatness of the 
entn-pnse, the encouraging openings for usefulness which God is 
fror t me to time revealing, and the position, responsibility, and 








Ill 


means of the Anglican Church; let the Missionary Societies in 
Tinnevelly be enabled to teach the elements of Christian truth to 
every adult who is willing to learn, and bestow upon every 
learner the benefits of pastoral guidance and control; to train up 
eve v y child of Christian parents in the knowledge of God's holy 
word and in the moral restraints and religious influences of a 
Christian education; and to establish in every village where 
Christians reside the visible organization of Christ's holy Church 
by ‘be administration of the sacraments and the exercise of 
ecclesiastical disciplinelet an adequate number of faithful 
Missionaries be sent forth to preach among these Gentiles " the 
uns^nreliable riches of Christ" —Christ crucified , as the fountain of 
pardon and life — Christ risen , as the hope of glory warning 
ever / man and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that they may 
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus;" and withal let prayer 
be continually made to the God of all Grace that He would shower 
dove His blessing upon His servants and their work,like rain 
upon these arid sandslike rivers in this thirsty ground; and the 
tim will come -- will speedily come, — when the Church's prayer 
sha bo heard , when she shall see the fruit of her anxieties, and 
labe s — her alms , and patience, and faith, and when " a new 
son shall be put into her mouth, even praise unto our God." 

All things betoken this result, and all things work 
tog' her for its accomplishment. " Darkness still covereth the land, 
aiu *ross darkness the people;" but let not any one despond; it 
is e darkness which precedes the dawn. " The morning appeareth 
upm the mountains, " and " joy cometh in the morning. "